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Disney's California Adventure Archives

May 15, 2018

A May Day at Disneyland - Disney Channel GO! Fan Fest, Pixar Play Parade, etc.

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The Disney Channel will be offering new programming this summer, with new shows at 9:00 a.m. EST/PST on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. EST/PST on weekends. Disneyland kicked off the new programming lineup with Disney Channel GO! Fan Fest on Saturday May 12. Events for fans included a cavalcade down Main Street and panel discussions and meet and greets in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure.

Disney Channel GO! Fan Fest

The Cavalcade included Disney characters and stars from some of the Disney Channel shows, such as Raven Simone from "Raven's Home".

GO! Fan Fest Cavalcade

Also stars of BuNK'D and Bizaardvark.

GO! Fan Fest Cavalcade

Andi Mack.

GO! Fan Fest Cavalcade

Stuck in the Middle, ZOMBIES, and Freaky Friday.

GO! Fan Fest Cavalcade

Duck Tales was the final element.

GO! Fan Fest Cavalcade

Cavalcade video:

In Disney California Adventure, there were panel discussions throughout the day in Stage 17. I saw a little bit of the final panel, with stars from the movies ZOMBIES and a new remake of Freaky Friday.

Disney Channel ZOMBIES panel discussion

Disney Channel Freaky Friday panel discussion

Wristbands were distributed earlier in the day for meet and greets with Disney Channel stars.

Go! Fan Fest meet and greets

Also in Hollywood Land throughout the day was a meet and greet with Scrooge McDuck and Launchpad McQuack.

Duck Tales Launch McQuack Scrooge McDuck

I spent a lot of time simply wandering around Disneyland. I wasn't the only one - I saw Belle and Gaston wandering around Fantasyland.

GastonBelle

In Tomorrowland I watched March of the First Order from two different viewpoints, and was able to put together a more complete video than I did last week. There's really no way to see the entire show because it moves through Tomorrowland. The best place to see the "show stop" is by the stroller parking sign between Star Trader and Star Tours. There's a couple of stormtroopers who come out on patrol in Tomorrowland a few minutes before the March begins - if you stand near where they end up you'll have a good view of the show stop.

The Sulley popcorn bucket is back in stock - it had sold out in Pixar Fest's first week. I saw it in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

Sulley popcorn bucket

New this week at Disney California Adventure is the Infinity Gauntlet Souvenir Sipper. I saw it in Hollywood Land at the two beverage stands outside the Hyperion Theater as well as the Studio Catering Co. food truck. $20, and comes with choice of soft drink. These were very popular - I saw lots of guests wearing them.

Infinity Gauntlet souvenir sipper

It's spring at Disneyland, and that means ducklings. :-) I saw a mom and her babies sleeping in a planter.

Disneyland ducklings

I also saw a family of geese.

Disneyland geese

While watching a jazz group in New Orleans Square, I noticed Minnie Mouse in one of the Club 33 windows above.

Disneyland Minnie in Club 33

I had the opportunity to take a ride on Hyperspace Mountain this time. I don't think it's any different than it was before, but that doesn't really matter, because it's still a great ride. Lots of people were cheering when they returned to the loading area. :-)

Hyperspace Mountain

Lee found a great spot for us in Town Square for the Pixar Play Parade, which he hadn't seen yet.

Pixar Play Parade Luxo Jr

There were no flames from baby Jack-Jack...no doubt as a result of the Maleficent fire at Magic Kingdom last week. :-(

Pixar Play Parade Jack Jack

We were standing behind a group of senior citizens who were sitting on a bench - it was fun to see Carl Fredricksen acknowledge his peeps. :-)

Pixar Play Parade UP

In Disney California Adventure we watched some testing of the new Incredicoaster with multiple vehicles on the track simultaneously. It looked like a test of normal operating conditions.

Incredicoaster testing

And, it's not a trip to Disneyland without trying at least a couple of Pixar Fest food items! At Royal Street Veranda I had the Potato Leek Soup in a sourdough bread bowl ($11.49). It was very good, especially since it was an overcast and somewhat cool day. I was surprised that it had a couple of big pieces of mushroom in it, though.

Pixar Fest Potato Leek soup

I also sampled the Coco Pot du Creme at Rancho del Zocalo ($5.99). It was layers of Mexican chocolate mousse and chocolate cookie crumbs. It was just OK - I don't really like the cinnamon chocolate flavor of Mexican chocolate. The dessert was topped with orange chocolate curls, resembling marigold petals, and they really were orange flavored. In my world, chocolate and orange should NEVER be mixed!

Pixar Fest Coco Pot du Creme

Lee and I shared the Mint Chip Shake from Schmoozies ($5.99). It was made to order, and the cast member took his time with it, given all of the different-colored swirls it has. I like my shakes really thick, and this wasn't - I could easily sip it through a straw. Still, it had a good flavor - not overly minty.

Pixar Fest Mint Chip Shake

One of the souvenir items during Pixar Fest is a straw with a detachable backpack clip - the clip features Luxo, Jr. and the Pixar Ball. $5.99 So cute!

Pixar Fest Luxo Jr Lamp Ball straw

Even though it was a Saturday, the parks weren't super busy, and it was a very pleasant day just to hang out - one of my favorite ways to spend a day at Disneyland.






May 7, 2018

Disneyland - May the Fourth Be With You

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Hyperspace Mountain

Disneyland celebrated May the Fourth (aka Star Wars Day) with the addition of some new Star Wars entertainment and the return of Hyperspace Mountain. At this point there's no end date specified, but I personally expect it all to be around through the summer season. I didn't get a chance to ride Hyperspace Mountain on Friday, but I look forward to experiencing it again. That Star Wars music makes it even more thrilling.

March of the First Order is one of the new entertainment offerings. Captain Phasma leads a squad of First Order Stormtroopers through Tomorrowland. The show begins with sound effects of the troop transport landing nearby. The stormtroopers start on the second floor of the Launch Bay and march down the ramp and into Tomorrowland where they stop near the Star Trader. Phasma warns guests about conspiring with the Resistance, and then the squad moves on toward the Astro Orbitor where Phasma issues another warning, then they return to the Launch Bay ramp. The Stormtroopers gather on the ground level while Phasma proceeds partway up the ramp and gives them additional orders. They eventually join her and they all march up the ramp.

March of the First Order

It's difficult to see the entire show because they are on the move through Tomorrowland, though that gives more guests the opportunity for a closer look at them. Sometimes a VERY close look if you're in the front row at one of the places they stop. :-) The show is scheduled multiple times per day. Cast members mark some areas in Tomorrowland with blue tape - that's an indication of a good place to watch for them.

Rey has joined Chewbacca inside the Launch Bay in the Light Side meet and greet area. The wait was 45 minutes when I was there, so I didn't see her. I expected that she would be very popular. Darth Vader and Kylo Ren still represent the Dark Side.

Disneyland Rey Meet and Greet

This has nothing to do with Star Wars, but on May 4 Disneyland announced that a new character will be strolling the streets of New Orleans Square this summer: Redd, the redheaded pirate wench, who will also be assuming a new role in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction when it re-opens this summer. (Image © Disney)

Pirates Redd redhead wench

I saw some of the performance of the Main Street Straw Hatters. Several Disney characters joined in. That's always fun to see - and it's something that you don't see at Walt Disney World where characters seem so much less accessible than they are at the Disneyland Resort. There are other musical groups that perform with characters, too. The performance times of the Hook and Ladder Co. (performing at the Fire House) and the Pearly Band (Castle Forecourt) aren't often listed on the paper Times Guide, though they are on the web site and in the Disneyland app. If they are performing when you're in the area I recommend staying to watch them and the characters who join them.

The Dumbo attraction re-opened recently. It has a new queue, which is now shaded by a brightly colored circus tent canopy. That's a welcome addition to this ride that's so popular with young children and their parents.

Dumbo queue

Dumbo queue

Dumbo queue

Over at Disney California Adventure, the first of the new Pixar Pier restaurants opened last week. Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats replaced the Paradise Pier Ice Cream Co., which had replaced the original Catch a Flave stand.

Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats

In addition to vanilla and chocolate soft serve, the Adorable Snowman offers a non-dairy lemon option. Very much like Dole Whip, except lemon-flavored. It's not an overwhelmingly lemon flavor, fortunately.

The most popular item is the new Pixar Pier Parfait, with layers of lemon soft serve and blue raspberry slush, topped with a cherry. It's really very colorful and attractive. Be aware that the slush melts much faster than the lemon soft serve, making that top swirl of lemon a little bit unstable.

Pixar Pier Parfait

The line was long every time I went by - a 15-20 minute wait. Almost everyone was getting the parfait. The other specialty is lemon topped with a white chocolate snowcap.

Adorable Snowman

Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats Menu

Vehicle testing of the new Incredicoaster was going on periodically throughout the day.

Incredicoaster

I was able to get a few decent photos of the new vehicles.

Incredicoaster vehicle

The ever-changing archway at Paradise Gardens has another new look for Pixar Fest. :-)

Pixar Fest

In the gazebo is the Pixar Pals meet and greet, featuring pairs of Pixar characters such as Buzz and Woody, Mike and Sulley, and Flik and Atta.

Pixar Pals

There's a Coco display next to that, where guests can take their own photos with figures of Hector and Miguel and Dante.

Coco - Hector
Coco - Miguel and Dante

This was my first opportunity to see the Pixarmonic Orchestra - sponsored by TripleDent Gum. :-) They play some unusual instruments - the clip below features kazoos, duck calls, cow bells, and even a siren. The percussionist gets a little crazy with all kinds of different effects at 1:01. They are a lot of fun, and I'm surprised that they perform only on the relatively small Paradise Garden Bandstand. It would be nice to see them at the larger Paradise Bay venue. Especially right now when World of Color is under refurbishment and there's nothing going on there.

"a bug's land" will be closing at some point in the not-too-distant future to make way for the new Marvel/Avengers Super Hero-themed land. For the moment there's a new kid's activity area just outside Flik's Fun Faire: Blueberry Scout Jamboree. There is free face painting and tables where kids can color. Also available there is a map for a scavenger hunt in Flik's Fun Faire. Worth noting: the area is mostly shaded by trees and umbrellas.

Blueberry Scout Jamboree

Blueberry Scout Jamboree

If you want to meet Marvel characters, Hollywood Land is the place to be. Captain Marvel and Spider-Man have separate meet and greet areas now. And there are some unlikely pairings: Thor and Gamora meet guests next to the Hollywood Backlot Stage and Black Widow has joined Black Panther at Stage 17. Loki wanders around occasionally, and this summer Dr. Strange will be featured, also.

Thor and Gamora Hollywood Land

New Annual Passholder merchandise was released recently. There are Passholder shirts for men and women.

Disneyland Annual Passholder merchandise

I like the spelling of "Passholder" on the back.

Disneyland Annual Passholder merchandise

There's also a hat, tumbler, and pin set.

Disneyland Annual Passholder merchandise

As announced in March, passholders can get the "AP" logo embroidered on select items such as shirts, baseball caps and Mickey ear hats. $7.99 and a same-day purchase receipt is required. (Image © Disney)

Disneyland Annual Passholder merchandise

No Galaxy's Edge construction updates from me, but Jason has a new photo set from Friday on his site: www.disneygeek.com.






April 18, 2018

Pixar Fest Overview

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Pixar Fest

Pixar Fest, a celebration of "friendship and beyond", opened at the Disneyland Resort last week, and will run through September 3. It seemed a little unusual for Disney to get such an early start on what will be the summer celebration (usually starting Memorial Day weekend), but there is a lot going on at both theme parks.

Pixar Fest

Some of the decor is interesting - for example, the monorail trains received Pixar makeovers.

Pixar Fest monorail blue

And Downtown Disney got abstract Pixar additions to its planters.

Pixar Fest

Pixar Fest

I thought this one with Edna Mode was especially clever.

Pixar Fest

Disneyland has a new fireworks show: Together Forever - A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular. You can read Jeanine's review of the new show HERE. Highlights of the new show include Buzz Lightyear and the house from UP flying around Sleeping Beauty Castle. As with most recent Disneyland fireworks shows, there are lots of projections during the show...and they are slightly different depending on whether you watch the show from Main Street, the front of the castle, "it's a small world" or Rivers of America. I'm happy to have the opportunity to see them from multiple areas, and not have to deal with the crush of people on Main Street.

Pixar Fest Together Forever

You can watch the show below:

The Pixar Play Parade has moved from Disney California Adventure to Disneyland. Several new Pixar elements were added to the parade: Luxo, Jr., and the Pixar Ball, which lead off the parade; Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong from Inside Out, and Russell, Kevin, Carl, and Dug from UP. You can see the new elements in this video:

Kevin was my favorite part of the entire parade - and she looks like she also has the most fun. I also enjoyed seeing her babies on the float.

Pixar Fest UP float

Otherwise I was disappointed in the new additions. The Inside Out and UP floats are rather basic, and don't have any of the interesting design and motion that the previously existing floats have. Luxo, Jr., at least, was capable of some motion. Though one missing feature I was grateful for: none of them spray water. With the other floats I got splashed a little, but the man next to me got a stream of water right into his (very large, very expensive) camera lens.

Pixar Fest Luxo Jr

The Paint the Night Parade has moved to Disney California Adventure, which has always seemed like the more fitting home for this parade. The parade is mostly unchanged, except that the Frozen float was removed: it was too tall to fit under the Red Car Trolley overhead lines. The Ariel float had to be slightly modified. (The original Disneyland float is on the left, the current float on the right.)

Pixar Fest Ariel floatPixar Fest Ariel float

A new Incredibles float will join the parade on June 15 when The Incredibles 2 opens in theaters.

Pixar Fest

Full parade video:

The Pixarmonic Orchestra, sponsored by TripleDent Gum, performs daily at the Paradise Gardens Bandstand. Their interpretation of Pixar movie music is inspired by Spike Jones, and it's intended to be a little bit silly and fun. In addition to more conventional instruments, they also play things like kazoos, slide whistles, cowbells and duck calls. Show Director Chris Utley also says: "The costumes even have some Pixar ‘Easter Eggs!’"

Disneyland musical groups are also performing Pixar music, including the Disneyland Band, Dapper Dans, Strawhatters, Jambalaya Jazz Band, Royal Street Bachelors, and Main Street Piano Player.

On June 8, the Pixar Pals Dance Party will begin at the Tomorrowland Terrace. Guests will be able to dance and mingle with favorite characters such as Russell, Dug, Woody, Jessie, and the Green Army Men.

In Disney California Adventure, the Sunset Showcase Theater is featuring several Pixar shorts. The short films will rotate during the celebration. Currently showing are Piper, Lava, and For the Birds.

Pixar Fest

Also in Disney California Adventure is the AP Corner for Annual Passholders. Though it's not around for the duration of the Festival - it closes on June 8. It has the usual special photo backdrop. Instead of a button, AP holders receive a set of removable sticker sheets - one for you, and one for a friend. These will change every two weeks. There's also a "Buddy Bank" - either write a note and give it to a friend, or leave it in the bin for someone who needs some encouragement.

Pixar Fest AP Corner

This adorable photo op is in front of Cars Land. How cute are they????

Pixar Fest

On top of the sign is an ad for the Pixcar Film Festival.

Pixar Fest

Not a part of Pixar Fest per se, but on the opening day of Pixar Fest, the Pixar Pier Preview Center opened in the Blue Sky Cellar. There's a large model of Pixar Pier and a working model of the roller coaster.

Part of the Imagineering video in the Preview Center is on the Re-imagining of Paradise Pier.

A major feature of Pixar Fest is all of the special food and beverage offerings that are available. Many restaurants, from full service to quick service to kiosks, are featuring something new. Everything from a Ratatouille-inspired three-course menu at Cafe Orleans ($40) to Carl Fredericksen's Fried Bologna sandwich, special corn dogs and hot dogs, a habañero meatball cone, and a color-changing noodle salad, just to name a few. And for your sweet tooth there are lots of different churros, as well as doughnuts, funnel cakes, macarons, caramel apples, cake pops, and much more. Karlos Siqueiros Food and Beverage Concept Development Project Manager, told me "you have over five months to try it all!" :-)

Pixar Fest Alien macaron

Chef Zack Paulson gave me a video tour of some of the foods.

In Disneyland, the Green Aliens have taken over Redd Rockett's Pizza Port, transforming it into Alien Pizza Planet - "A Better Place". It didn't receive a complete makeover like Red Rose Taverne, but there are some cute additions.

Pixar Fest Alien Pizza Planet

Pixar Fest Alien Pizza Planet

The menu has a few modifications: a Cheeseburger Pizza was added, along with Green Miso Pesto Pasta.

Pixar Fest Green Miso Pesto Pasta

Alien Pizza Planet Menu

Paradise Garden Grill also has a new Pixar Fest menu - this one inspired by the movie Coco.

Paradise Garden Grill Menu

There's also a variety of Pixar Fest merchandise available.

Pixar Fest merchandise

Some of it is exclusive to the Knick's Knacks store across from Ariel's Grotto in Disney California Adventure (formerly Treasures in Paradise).

Pixar Fest merchandise

Pixar Fest merchandise

Pixar Fest merchandise

Pixar Fest merchandise

Some items such as t-shirts and hats are available at the Emporium and Elias & Co.

Pixar Fest merchandise

Yes, there are Pixar Fest Dooney & Bourke bags.

Pixar Fest merchandise

And lots of ears and other headwear.

Pixar Fest merchandise

Several light-up tumblers - one with the green alien (Choose me!), one with Dory, and one with Nemo.

Pixar Fest alien tumbler

I think some of the cutest things are the straws with backpack clips. There's the Pixar lamp and a Green Alien. Maybe others, but those are the ones I've seen so far.

Pixar Fest Alien straw clip

There is AP-exclusive merchandise, also.

Pixar Fest merchandise

The most popular thing on opening day were the new Sulley and Mike souvenir buckets. Sulley is a popcorn bucket and Mike is a beverage holder. They snap together for display.

Pixar Fest merchandise

Lots to do, lots to eat, lots to buy during Pixar Fest!






April 15, 2018

Pixar Pier Preview Center Opens at Disney California Adventure

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Pixar Pier Preview Center

On April 13, the opening day of Pixar Fest, a new Pixar Pier Preview Center opened in the Blue Sky Cellar in Disney California Adventure. It's been awhile since there's been an exhibit in there, and it was nice to see the space in use again.

Pixar Pier Preview Center

This video tour gives a brief look at all of the exhibits, including the large model of Pixar Pier. It also includes footage of the working model of the roller coaster, with a car that runs all around the track.

There's a short Imagineering video that plays continuously. I was disappointed that there weren't more details in it, but there was about a 4-minute section on "Re-Imagining Paradise Pier" that is available below. It includes a little bit of a virtual reality ride-through of the Incredicoaster at the 2:30 mark.

Some of the things that I found most interesting in the Preview Center:

The roller coaster model includes an Operator Control Console like the ones used by cast members, and guests can use it to dispatch, emergency stop, and reset the ride vehicle in the model.

Pixar Pier Preview Center

Concept art of the Incredibles float that will be joining the Paint the Night Parade starting on June 15.

Pixar Pier Preview Center

One of the Boardwalk games will be based on the La Luna Pixar Short: La Luna Star Catchers.

This still is actually from the video - I thought it was interesting to see how the drawings for the animals on Jessie's Critter Carousel were super-imposed over a generic carousel horse.

Pixar Pier Preview Center

Unfortunately there's no real surprises - for example there's no information on the forthcoming Inside Out attraction.

There was a bit of a tease as you exit - the wall display right next to the door shows some of the concept art that Disney has released on the Avengers Super Heroes land coming to Disney California Adventure in 2020.

Pixar Pier Preview Center

I hope this is a sign that Disney will continue to update the Blue Sky Cellar periodically as they did during previous projects. And maybe someday we'll get a preview center for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge...






March 14, 2018

Disneyland Resort Updates from March 9, 2018

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, March 9, 2018.

Let us start off with a quick video overview of the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure.

A look at the site starting on the left.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Panning right. Wire mesh has been installed on more of the support steel since my last visit.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Toward Critter Country more dirt being moved around on the far berm.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

More steel for the structure in front of the Battle Escape show building is taking shape.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

A large portion of the former Pinocchio Parking lot is now gone and grading work is underway for the new parking structure. The former tram staging area is starting to be deconstructed.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

A new temporary walkway is set up on the old tram route along the hedgeline. There is a new walkway to the corner of Magic Way and Disneyland Drive.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Dirt is being moved around the former Pinocchio Parking lot.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Interesting the toll booth and arms are still there. The driveway, most of the plants, etc.. are all gone though.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

A wide view of the site. In the foreground appears to be the remaining pieces of the security and tram stop structures.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Here is a video look around the construction site for the new parking structure adjacent to the Mickey and Friends structure at Disneyland.

The security check points and tram load areas are now inside on a portion of the Chip & Dale level (drop off is outside at the stops nearest the escalators).

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Paradise Park this afternoon. A stage with a cover is set up for the festival.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

More scaffolding up since my last visit for the Pixar Pier work. A new structure is rising on the right side.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Crews working on enclosing the launch hill.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

The new colors for the Fun Wheel are starting to be visible.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail has reopened.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

2018 Grad merchandise is available.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

The facades of the Midway Stores are now gone.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Frozone was roaming Paradise Pier.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

The launch track and system are being re-installed for the coaster.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

The Toy Story buildings are turning blue.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

The water wheel has been removed from the Cozy Cone.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Elias & Co has a line of Disney Afternoon clothing available.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Over at Disneyland a streetcar is in Town Square as a photo op as the work on the new track wraps up.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

A small section of the straight part has opened but most is still behind walls (most of these were removed by Wed 3/13).

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

An armed forces medley and Star Spangled Banner performed by the Disneyland Band at the nightly Flag Retreat.



Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

At Center Street the new track and brick is visible now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

A portion near Coke Corner is complete too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Splash Mountain renovation work continues.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction from the Mark Twain.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

In Fantasyland Casey Jr has reopened since my last trip, Dumbo is still behind walls and on the right a portion work on the planters by Pinocchio.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

The walls stop short of Pinocchio's entrance.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Some parade route work going on in the Small World Mall. The new concrete is no where near the color of the original.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 9, 2018

Pirates of the Caribbean will be closing for renovation in late April, as part of the project the Auction Scene will be replaced.

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









March 5, 2018

2018 Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival First Impressions

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DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Lee and I visited this year's Disney California Food and Wine Festival on opening day, March 2. It was an overcast day, with rain predicted for late morning, but fortunately it held off until that evening.

When we walked in, cast members on Buena Vista Street were distributing paper chef's hats. I took one and wore it for a while.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Most of the marketplaces are located along the Festival Corridor - which is the parade route from "a bug's land" to Paradise Garden. A lot of the marketplaces are new this year, but there's a few returning from last year, with some returning dishes as well. A lot of them are themed to a particular ingredient, like peppers, garlic, corn, avocado, artichokes, and strawberries.

Festival Marketplace Menus and Prices

We picked up a Tasting Passport at the Welcome Center booth at the start of the Festival corridor. It's a handy reference to figure out which items are available at which booths, though it does not list prices. Inside the back cover there's also lists of items that are Gluten Free, Kid-friendly, Vegetarian, and Vegan.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

The Sip and Savor Pass is again available to Annual Passholders. It's $45, and comes with 8 tabs, which can be redeemed for food and non-alcoholic beverage items at the marketplaces. We didn't get one this time, but it's a good deal if you stick to items valued at $6.00 or more (which is most of the non-dessert food items).

The first item we sampled was Jalapeno Popper Mac & Cheese with Bacon from the Peppers Cali-ente marketplace ($7.50). It was quite a generous serving in comparison to items we've tried in the past. Not too spicy, and pretty filling.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Lee also tried a Bottle Logic Kingdom Common beer from California Craft Brews. Beer prices were up $0.75 this year - $14.00 for a flight of four, and $9.75 for a 12 oz. pour. This marketplace also offers White Cheddar Lager Soup in a mini sourdough boule for $6.00. Sounds really good, but we didn't get a chance to try it - yet. :-)

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

The Sonoma Terrace was behind construction walls on my last visit, but it's now open, and has been remodeled. There are tables on the street level right along the parade route now - no doubt in preparation for the upcoming Paint the Night Parade, and the viewing package that will be offered at Sonoma Terrace.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

The main entrance to the area is now from the parade route, instead of on the far left side.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

The inside seating looks different. There's also a new menu with two Italian flatbread sandwiches: Grilled Chicken Caesar and Grilled Portobello Mushroom and Zucchini, in addition to the Bavarian pretzel and pull apart bread offered before. Draft beer is also available in addition to bottled beer and hard cider, and a small selection of wine by the glass.

Sonoma Terrace Menu

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

I love avocado, and wanted to try something from the Avocado Time marketplace. Though I was NOT tempted by the Avocado Ice Cream Bar ($4.50). If any of you try it, please let me know what you think.

Instead I ordered Spiced Oumph on Pita with avocado hummus and garlic sauce ($6.00). This was a vegan dish - Oumph is some kind of soy based product. The consistency was kind of like dark meat chicken. I liked the dish as a whole, though it seemed garlicky to me. Lee thought it was just ok, and he didn't think there was too much garlic. I should mention that the dishes we tried were all beautifully presented. Most of them are plated as they are ordered, since they contain multiple components.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Next up was Citrus brined Pork Roast with tangy barbecue sauce and lemon pepper slaw ($7.00). This was Lee's favorite of the day. It was pulled pork that was flavorful and not overly fatty. I didn't care for the slaw - too much dressing. Neither of us really figured out what the crunchy things on top were.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Time for a little entertainment - we watched those culinary percussion virtuosos, the Jammin' Chefs: Frank Beans, Sloppy Joe, and Betty Spaghetti, led by Executive Chef Mac Aroni. With assistance(?) from Chip and Dale. Fun show, and there's an opportunity for the kids to participate.

From Off the Cob Lee tried the Sweet Corn Nuggets with Beef Chili ($6.75). Lots of big chunks of beef in it. We also enjoyed the nuggets - fried corn and cheese. Very tasty, and another generous serving. This is a returning dish from last year, though it is 50 cents more this year.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

From Garlic Kissed we ordered Black Garlic Soy-braised Pork Belly Banh Mi ($7.50). The pork belly wasn't too fatty, and had a good flavor. I didn't find it had as much garlic flavor as the avocado dish I'd tried earlier (that's not a bad thing). It was a pretty small sandwich for the price, though.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Paradise Gardens is the home of the Festival Beer Garden. Lee commented that the sign must be the most changed sign in the park - last month it was Lunar New Year, before that was Viva Navidad... :-) The area is certainly put to good use!

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

There are a number of beers on tap in a nice variety of styles from micro breweries in California, as well as Illinois and Belgium.

Lots of these interesting "chalkboard" signs in the area with Facts on Tap.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Paradise Garden Grill has its own Festival menu. It's the same as last year, with the addition of a No "Meat" Ball Sandwich. Brew pub fare - beer-battered cod, sausages, beer-braised pork tacos, soft pretzel. Two beers are on tap which are not available elsewhere - and they are only $9.00 instead of $9.75.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Live entertainment is featured in the afternoon and evening at the Paradise Garden Bandstand, but it was too early when we were in that area.

The larger live entertainment venue is the Palisades Stage in Paradise Park. I was really happy when I looked at the times guide and saw that Phat Cat Swinger was back - I really enjoyed them during Festival of Holidays. They are only performing on Fridays and Sundays, but since it was Friday we had the chance to see them. Unfortunately we had a wine tasting to go to, so we weren't able to enjoy their entire set. They perform "Big Band" swing music, and musical selections in the style of Frank Sinatra, Louie Armstrong, and Sammy Davis Jr.

Because of the threat of rain the Wine Seminar was moved from the Sonoma Terrace to the second floor of the Wine Country Trattoria (which used to be the Vineyard Room restaurant). The sight lines weren't as good up there and the tables of six were a bit crowded together. But hey, at least we were going to stay dry if it had rained. We saw a presentation by Eden Canyon Vineyards. Pretty typical for this type of thing - we received three red wines to try. The presenter told us more about their growing practices than the actual winemaking, and that was interesting. Their grapevines are on their own root stock and not grafted, like most vines are. I'd reserved this seminar far in advance - they tend to sell out like this one did. They are $20/person.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

We did not get a chance to check out the Culinary Demonstrations, which take place on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at the Palisades Stage at 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. Though given the weather they might have been canceled. I hadn't booked the $30 VIP package which would have given us a seat and food sample - we would've just walked up to view it.

There's additional Festival events taking place in Hollywood Land. The Backlot Stage is used for the Junior Chef program (multiple times each day) and the family-focused seminars that take place Thursdays-Sundays. Next to the stage is the kids craft area.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

While there are a couple of merchandise carts along the Festival Corridor, most of the merchandise is available in Hollywood Land at the Studio Store and the Festival Gifts kiosk. There were some clever kitchen towels, with sayings like "Stop and smell the Rose", and an apron with "Don't go bacon my heart".

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

We visited the AP Corner, which is tucked back on the left side of Stage 17. Not one of the usual locations and not a very big area. There were signs directing people where to go, but I also heard three different people ask cast members where it was. No line, so we had our photo taken with the special backdrop.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

There are also two other marketplaces there, and the bar next to Monsters, Inc. is now The Brewhouse.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

In wandering around the park we checked out the new menu at Cocina Cucamonga. No more tamales :-( The new menu offers Cocina Bowls and Street Taco Plates both with cilantro-lime rice and black beans and choice of carne asada, pollo, al pastor and papas. There's also a chicken salad, half chicken plate, and al pastor torta. The kids menu offers a cheese quesadilla in addition to kid-sized portions of the tacos and bowls. (Prices for the kids menu items are now $7.49 - up 50 cents.)

Cocina Cucamonga Menu

That does it for our opening day experience at the Food and Wine Festival...my overall impressions:

I'm very pleased with the variety of live entertainment options.

There's a lot of interesting choices available in the marketplaces. I liked what we tried, and thought the portions (other than the banh mi) were more generous than in the past. The presentation was very nice. The prices are slightly up since last year.

The beer marketplace always has the longest line, so I hope people remember that they are offering beer in two additional places - and it's also available at the usual Sonoma Terrace, Karl Strauss Beer Truck, and Bayside Brews locations.

It seemed like there isn't as much wine this year, though. No separate Wineology booth in Hollywood so the Mimosa flights are in the Nuts About Cheese marketplace (which is in Hollywood).

We will be back at least once more, since we're attending one of the Winemaker dinners.







March 3, 2018

2018 Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival Overview

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DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

The Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival runs from March 2 - April 12 this year. It's almost a week longer, and surprisingly ends on a Thursday instead of a Sunday - but Pixar Fest starts the next day, on April 13.

Festival events take place both along the "Festival Corridor" (from the entrance to "a bug's land" to Paradise Gardens), and in Hollywood Land.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

This year's Festival Guide, available at the Welcome Center, is a nice fold-out pamphlet with a map of the Festival and a listing of all of the Festival offerings. Consult the regular Times Guide for specific information on the entertainment schedule.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Festival Marketplaces
There are fourteen Festival Marketplaces, which serve a variety of foods, beers, wines, and cocktails. Many of the food Marketplaces showcase a different ingredient, such as cheese, peppers, garlic, artichokes, strawberries, avocados, or corn.

Marketplace Menus and Prices

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

With over 900 breweries in California, there are two different marketplaces dedicated to beer, as well as a beer stand in the Paradise Pier Beer Garden.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

There's also a wine marketplace, and a number of the other marketplaces offer wine as well as food.

A souvenir tumbler is available with purchase of a specialty beverage at a number of the marketplaces.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival souvenir tumbler

A free Tasting Passport available at the Festival Welcome Center and the Marketplaces. There are different stamps available at 12 of the marketplaces (no purchase required). After getting all 12, the Stamp of Completion is available at the Festival Welcome Center or the AP Corner.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Annual Passholder Offerings

Passholders can purchase a Sip and Savor Pass for $45 at Festival merchandise locations. (Must show AP at time of purchase.) Each of the eight tabs can be used for marketplace food and non-alchoholic beverage items. It's a good deal if you stick to items valued at $6.00 or more (which is most of the non-dessert food items).

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

The AP Corner is located in Hollywood Land next to Stage 17, rather than in the Paradise Gardens area, which is the more usual location. There's an AP-exclusive photo backdrop and Photopass photographer. There's also an AP-exclusive Festival button - one per AP holder.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Passholder merchandise: shirts, hat, pin, and beverage cup, is available at the Studio Store in Hollywood Land.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Seminars and Demonstrations
Thursday-Sunday at the Backlot Stage in Hollywood Land there are a series of family-friendly seminars and cooking demonstrations. The topics are Farm to Table, Family Time (easy to prepare dishes), and Festival Favorites (favorites from the Festival Marketplaces).

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Merchandise
Festival merchandise is available at The Studio Store and a kiosk in Hollywood Land, and merchandise carts along the Festival Corridor. There's items for the home and kitchen in addition to cookbooks, Festival-logo attire, and pins.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

For Kids
There's a craft area for kids in Hollywood Land next to the Backlot Stage. Kids can color a chef's hat there.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

The Junior Chef program takes place on the Backlot Stage. Kids split up into teams and under the guidance of Chef Lilly and Chef Goofy they mix up a batch of dough...and with a little Disney magic receive a treat to take home. The event is free and available on a first come-first serve basis - interested kids and their parents should proceed to the Backlot Stage area in advance to participate.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

At the Paradise Pier Obelisk, cast members occasionally bring out a cart of culinary items that kids can play with, bang together, etc.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Entertainment

Live entertainment is offered throughout the day in the Paradise Pier area. The Jammin' Chefs, along with Chip and Dale, perform in front of the Paradise Pier Obelisk. Kids get a chance to join in the fun.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival Jammin Chefs

The Paradise Stage hosts a variety of music groups throughout the Festival. Unlike the Festival of Holidays, there's only one group performing on the stage each day. Currently on the schedule is Phat Cat Swinger (West Coast Swing), Adelaide Tropical (Caribbean Salsa), Grilled Cheese Soundwich (Pop Rock), and Smith (Country).

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

There's also live performances at the Paradise Garden Bandstand, again a single group per day. Featured are The Tina Aldana Band (Latin Rock), Five Got Rhythm (40s Jazz), LALA Brass (Brass Funk), Adelaide Tropical (Caribbean Salsa), and Island Reggae Band (Reggae/Calypso).

Signature Events

These are the events that are available at an additional cost. While there might be same-day availability, many events are already sold out, and advance reservations are recommended. Prices listed do not include applicable tax and gratuity.

Culinary Demonstrations

Demonstrations featuring a variety of celebrity chefs, including Jet Tila, Alex Guarnaschelli, Cat Cora, Jamie Gwen, and Maneet Chauhan, take place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. at the Palisades Stage in Paradise Park. While the demonstrations are free, they are standing room only. A VIP Package is available for $30/person which offers reserved seating for the demonstration as well as a meet and greet with the chef and a sample tasting following the demo.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Wine, Beer, and Spirits Education & Tasting Seminars

Take place daily at the Sonoma Terrace, and featuring visiting winemakers, brewmasters, and mixologists on weekends, and Disney Sommeliers Monday-Thursday. $20/person.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Celebrity Chef Live! at the Hyperion

Guy Fieri and Robert Irvine appear on stage on March 9 and 30, respectively, during a 60-minute show and cooking demonstration. Following the show, music and sample tastings are available. The event runs from 8:00-10:30, and is $99. The $250 VIP Experience is already sold out - a limited number of guests sit on stage and also receive a private meet and greet.

Sweet Sundays

This year Sweet Sundays moves to the Napa Rose restaurant at the Grand Californian. These events ($99) are also sold out. The featured chefs are Keegan Gerhard (March 4), Emily Ellyn (March 11), and Duff Goldman (April 8). This event includes a light breakfast, sparkling wine, and a baking demonstration with the opportunity to sample the finished products.

DCA 2018 Food and Wine Festival

Winemaker and Brewmaster Dinners

These two-three hour dining experiences include a multi-course meal paired with wine or beer . A guest winemaker or brewmaster presents each course.

Karl Strauss Brewmaster Dinner - March 8, 6:00-9:00 p.m., Steakhouse 55, $150/person.

Flora Springs Winemaker Dinner - March 15, 6:00-9:00 p.m., Steakhouse 55, $175/person.

Disney Family of Wines Winemaker Dinner - March 29, 6:30-9:00 p.m., Napa Rose, $250/person.

David Arthur Vineyards - April 5, 6:30-10:00 p.m., Carthay Circle Restaurant, $300/person. Limited to 24 guests.







March 1, 2018

Disneyland Resort Updates from February 23, 2018

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, February 23, 2018.

A video overview of the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction site.

This visit more steel and wire mesh continues to be added to the park side of the site to cover the two large show buildings.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Steel wrapping around the Battle Escape Building now for rock work support.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

The Mickey and Friends Tram stop reconfiguration is moving along. You can see where the two new stops will be, back to where the original two stops were.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

The Pinocchio lot is now closed and demolition work has started.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

A closer look. The light poles are down and some concrete removal has started.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

All the landscaping is being removed. As well as the curb.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

On the Chip and Dale level, the new tram route is starting to be marked off. In the distance you can see yellow indicating another stop.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

World of Disney is now half closed. From the center doors to the right toward Starbucks is walled off for renovation. It is slated to be closed into July then the other half will be closed.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

The Disney Home Store opened since my last visit.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Took a look inside the World of Disney. A new wall goes from floor to ceiling dividing the open portion from the renovation side.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Over to Disneyland. The walls are gone from Town Square unveiling the new track and brickwork for the streetcars.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

The view from the train station. Walls still stretch along the straight part of the street.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Walls are now up on the spur line section leading backstage.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Moving down to ground level. Notice the popcorn cart in Town Square was not back yet.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

The one walkway through the fence on the spur line.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

The walls are down in the hub too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Spring blooms already, even though the weather was winter today...high was just over 60 with a cold breeze.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Looking toward Tomorrowland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

The Partners statue in the hub.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Moving on to Adventureland. It was announced last week that Aladdin's Oasis will be removed and it will become the Tropical Hideaway.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

The Storybook Land Canal Boats have returned to service, Casey Jr is still closed.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Snow White and the Evil Queen were in Fantasyland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Spring balloons are now available throughout the park featuring Thumper again.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

From the Monorail you can see concrete has been poured for the parade route near it's a small world.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

In Disney California Adventure the Food and Wine Festival begins Friday (March 2). Marketplaces are now in place throughout the park.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

The Black Panther has set up shop for a meet and greet in the lobby of Stage 17. A video clip of the Black Panther leaving the area.



Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Next stop the Pier to see how the Pixar Pier transformation is moving along.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Scaffolding now goes all the way up the main hill of the roller coaster.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

The billboards are removed now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

The scream tubes on the coaster are being enclosed, here is a portion without scaffolding so you can see the enclosure.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Closed out my evening with Fantasmic! at Disneyland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 23, 2018

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









February 13, 2018

Disneyland Resort Updates from February 9, 2018

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, February 9, 2018.

Starting off with a video overview of the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure.

A wide picture of the site this afternoon.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

More steel is visible as a structure takes shape in front of the Battle Escape building on the park side.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

A closer look at some of the new steel on the roof.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

The fences have shifted at the Mickey and Friends tram stop. The planters and load ramp have been removed.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

The Pinocchio Parking lot is not in use today. It will soon be blocked off for construction to start.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Concrete work at the Mickey and Friends Tram Stop in Downtown Disney.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Walls for the Naples renovation leave just a narrow walkway right now to reach Downtown Disney from the end of the tram stop.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

First stop Disney California Adventure. Work continues on the Sonoma Terrace

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Grizzly River Run has returned from annual renovation, the walkways and attraction are reopened.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Next stop Disneyland. More signs up on the construction walls that fill Main Street.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Checking out Town Square from the Main Street Train Station.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

The new track is in and looks ready for concrete and bricks in this section.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Walls now span all of Main Street. There are three crossings set up.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

From ground level, looking up Main Street. There is a narrow walkway on the street (plus the regular sidewalk)

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Posters for Main Street shops/attractions are on the walls.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Looking back toward Town Square.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

There are three crossings set up. This is the second one at Center Street.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

The CK Holliday steaming by with Star Wars construction towering behind.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Casey Jr. & Storybook Land Canal Boats have joined the list of attractions closed for renovation since my last trip.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

A look at the concept art on the wall for Casey Jr.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

"it's a small world" has returned to operation since my last visit. Due to the queue and parade route work the current queue snakes around the wall and mall area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

The queue becomes single file to reach the bridge.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

A reverse view from the Monorail, it appears the new parade gate will be shifted back quite a ways. It used to be up where the small world facade ended, assuming it will be in line with these two new pillars.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

At Disney California Adventure the transformation of Paradise Pier to Pixar Pier is moving along. Disney announced earlier this week that the first phase will open on June 23. The Paradise Pier sign is gone and the loop is back.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

The former entrance and signage for Ariel's is removed.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

The Silver Dollar Six performing in several sets inside the Golden Horseshoe now.

A LEGO BB-8 has replaced the other figures in the Star Wars Launch Bay.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Splitsville is in a soft opening phase. The Patio and Lower level were open this evening. The upstairs was not.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

A sneak peek of A Wrinkle in Time is now playing in Sunset Showcase Theater

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

Three costumes from a Wrinkle in Time are on display in the lobby.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 9, 2018

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









January 29, 2018

Lunar New Year Food Offerings at Disney California Adventure

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One of the highlights of any holiday event at the Disneyland Resort is trying some of the special foods and beverages that are available. For Lunar New Year, these offerings celebrate the cuisines of China, Korea, and Vietnam at three festive marketplaces and the Paradise Garden Grill.

Each marketplace features appetizer-sized portions of traditional dishes, as well as a dessert item and beverage. At the Media event I attended I had the opportunity to try several of the dishes, including a couple that are new this year.

Lunar New Year 2018 food

Korea Marketplace

* Kimchi Bokkeumbap - Kimchi-vegetable fried rice. $6.00 * Yachae Mandu - Steamed vegetable dumplings with sesame-garlic soy sauce. $6.50 * Yang Gaeng - Sweet red bean and raspberry jelly. $4.50 * Banana Milk (non-alcoholic). $5.00 * Mae Shil Ju - Plum wine cocktail with a rose petal garnish. $12.00 * Hite Pale Lager - $9.00

The Kimchi Bokkeumbap did not have a very strong kimchi flavor - pretty mild. A good selection of vegetables, though unfortunately it contained small pieces of red bell pepper. Yuck. I was able to mostly eat around it.

Lunar New Year 2018 kimchi bokkeumbap

I really did not like the new Yang Gaeng at all. It was like eating sweet gritty jello. Not a pleasant texture, and much too sweet.

Lunar New Year 2018 Red Bean and Raspberry Jelly

China Marketplace

* Pork Soup Dumplings with black vinegar and ginger. $7.00 * Three Cup Chicken. $6.75 * Egg tart. $4.25 * Five-Spiced Peanut Brittle. $4.50 * Passion Fruit Green Iced Tea with lychee popping pearls (non-alcoholic). $5.50.
-- Add a glowing lotus flower $5.00 * Tsingtao Lager. $9.00

The Three Cup Chicken is new this year. Chef John State, whose culinary team is responsible for the food and beverage offerings, told us that it's a traditional recipe, made with 1 cup each of rice wine, soy sauce, and sesame oil. It was served over rice, and I thought it was very good.

Lunar New Year 2018 Three Cup Chicken

The Pork Soup Dumplings returned this year - they were a guest favorite last year. They weren't as soupy as I expected, and they cooled off before I had a chance to eat them. Tasty but not amazing. I wish the bowl had included some of the broth and been more of a soup.

Lunar New Year 2018 Pork Soup Dumplings

Another returning item is the Passion Fruit Green Iced Tea. I had also tried this last year and thought it was too sweet. It seemed less sweet to me this year, though I'm not sure I could've told you it was passion fruit-flavored without knowing that. The light-up lotus flower is a $5 add-on.

Lunar New Year 2018 Passion Fruit Green Iced Tea

Vietnam Marketplace

* Sticky Rice Cake - with pork. $6.50 * Sugar Cane Shrimp Skewer - with sweet and sour sauce. $7.00 * Purple Sweet Potato Macaron. $5.25 * Vietnamese Iced Coffee. $5.00

There were no changes to this marketplace menu. I sampled one of the Sugar Cane Shrimp Skewers. I was expecting a whole shrimp, but it was a mixture of chopped shrimp that had been lightly breaded and fried. It was very good, probably my favorite of all of the items that I tried. I would've chosen a different sauce for it, though.

Lunar New Year 2018 sugar cane shrimp skewer

According to Chef State, the Sticky Rice Cake is very labor intensive to prepare. It's also not something you can be in a hurry to eat, since it has to be untied and unwrapped!

Lunar New Year 2018 Sticky Rice Cake with pork

I was a little concerned about it at first - the wrapping (banana leaf?) had an unpleasant aroma, but fortunately that didn't affect the contents. I found that it was very filling - there was a good amount of tender pork in the middle of the rice. The carrot "slaw" that came with it was quite good: vinegary with a little bit of heat from the jalapeno.

Lunar New Year 2018 Sticky Rice Cake with Pork

The Purple Sweet Potato Macaron is beautiful to look at. Purple buttercream in the middle, and some gold leaf on top. I don't get the appeal of macarons in general, so while this was probably a fine macaron (and it was larger than most macarons I've seen) it seemed typical to me. Which is to say chewy and overly sweet.

Lunar New Year 2018 purple sweet potato macaron

There's a small food cart in Paradise Gardens that sells pork bao ($5.50) and almond cookies ($4.00). I tried the pork bao. It was very small for the price and the filling was dry. It was served with a sweet chili dipping sauce, which was sticky and too thick - almost gelatinous. I've had much better (and cheaper) bao from my local 99 Ranch Market.

Lunar New Year 2018 pork bao

The Lunar New Year menu at the Paradise Garden Grill restaurant offers complete meals inspired by several Asian countries. It's the same menu as last year with one new item added - a banh mi with grilled marinated pork belly. I would've liked to try this, but I was too full from everything else.

Lunar New Year 2018 pork banh mi

Though Paradise Garden Grill is a quick service location, in this incarnation it's serving food that is prepared to order like a table service restaurant. So there's been a change in the way the food is served this year. After placing their order guests receive their beverages at the window, along with a number card to place on a table in the seating area. Once the food is ready, cast members will deliver it to the table.

Paradise Garden Grill

* Whole Crispy Tilapia - tilapia lightly dusted with rice flour and deep fried, with citrus-chili vinaigrette. Served family style with soup, vegetables, and rice. Meal for two $24.99

* Kalbi Beef Short Ribs - marinated and grilled Korean-style beef short ribs with green onions, served with steamed rice and kimchi. $14.99

* Vegetable Japchae - sweet potato noodles, onions, shiitake mushrooms, carrot, spinach, snow peas, broccolini and lightly sauteed tofu, tossed with sesame oil and a sweet and spicy sauce topped with toasted sesame seeds. $10.99

* Beef Noodle Soup - rich seasoned beef stock, thinly sliced tri-tip, rice noodles, with classic accompaniments of onion, jalapeno, basil-lime and hot sauce. $11.99

* Banh mi with Grilled Pork - marinated pork belly, pickled carrots and daikon, with cucumber, cilantro, seasoned mayonnaise and jalapeno on a crisp baquette. $11.99

* Mango Pudding - $3.99

* Almond Milk Tea with Pudding - $4.99 Add a glowing lotus flower $4.59

* Black Beer Stout - $7.50

The booth prices are typical for a food festival at DCA - which is to say that they are high. Two samples will run $12-$14, which is about what you'll pay for a counter service meal - but it's not nearly as much food. Still, the quality is good, and some of the items are also very attractively presented. If you view it as an experience, and an opportunity to try something different, it's easier to justify the expense.

In contrast, the prices at Paradise Garden Grill are on par with what you'll pay for a counter service meal around the Disneyland Resort, for a food selection that you won't find at any other resort restaurants. I know where I'm eating if I return to DCA during Lunar New Year.

* I was an invited guest to a Lunar New Year Celebration Media event. My opinions are my own.






January 27, 2018

Disney California Adventure Lunar New Year Celebration - the Year of the Dog

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Since moving from Disneyland to Disney California Adventure in 2013, the Lunar New Year Celebration has expanded every year. In 2018, in addition to new entertainment and food offerings, the event will take place over the course of 24 days, from January 26 through February 18.

This short interview with Mirna Hughes provides an overview of what's happening this year.

The celebration takes place in the Paradise Park and Paradise Gardens areas. A large gateway near the entrance to Ariel's Undersea Adventure marks the beginning of the event area.

Lunar New Year 2018

This is the Year of the Dog, so Pluto gets his moment in the spotlight. His image is featured on the decorative banners in the park, as well as on some of the merchandise.

Lunar New Year 2018

Lunar New Year 2018

Lunar New Year 2018

Some of the merchandise, such as the Minnie flowered hat ears and the Mickey plush, came from Shanghai Disneyland. Mickey's foot has the Shanghai logo.

Lunar New Year 2018 Shanghai Minnie Ears

Lunar New Year 2018 Shanghai Mickey plush

Lunar New Year 2018 Shanghai Mickey

It's not a festival without food, of course! There are three food marketplaces in the Paradise Park corridor, offering representative dishes from Korea, China, and Vietnam. I'll have another blog on the items that I tried.

Lunar New Year 2018 Korea Booth

Only a few of the items are new this year, including "Three Cup Chicken". Never fear: the popular Pork Soup Dumplings are back. (I have it on good authority that these are Mushu's favorite! :-) )

Lunar New Year 2018 pork soup dumplings

The Paradise Garden Grill restaurant also offers a special Lunar New Year menu. The Crispy Fish Dinner - a whole tilapia served family style - returns this year, along with the Galbi (Korean style pork ribs). The Pork Belly Banh Mi sandwich is new this year. Also new this year: food is delivered to guests at their table. After ordering guests will receive a number along with their beverages and accompaniments, but the dishes will be brought to the table.

Lunar New Year 2018 Crispy Tilapia

There are a lot of activities for guests. Near Ariel's Undersea Adventure is a free face painting kiosk. A number of designs are available.

Lunar New Year 2018 face painting

Most activities are in Paradise Gardens. Kids (and adults) can color and make a paper lantern featuring Pluto. There are also calligraphy artists who will write a New Year wish or your name - it's a nice free souvenir.

Lunar New Year 2018

Lunar New Year 2018

At the Lucky Wishing Wall guests can write their new year wish on a Mickey-head-shaped card and tie it on. The Mickey cards are new this year. My wish for last year came true, so I hope for the same result for this year's wish.

Lunar New Year 2018 Lucky Wishing Wall

There are some static displays with information on how Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese families celebrate. This is the Year of the Dog, but another sign tells about the other animals, and you can find what year you were born in.

Lunar New Year 2018

The character meet and greet is at the gazebo in Paradise Gardens. Pluto, Mickey and Minnie, and Mulan and Mushu, all in New Year attire, alternate in that location. Interestingly, there is no PhotoPass photographer there. There is a cast member who will take photos for guests with their own camera.

Lunar New Year 2018 Mickey and Minnie

Lunar New Year 2018 Mulan and Mushu

Chip and Dale, also in New Year attire, roam around the area, creating their usual playful chaos.

The AP Corner for annual passholders is located between Paradise Garden Grill and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta. There's a special photo backdrop (with a PhotoPass photographer), and AP holders get their own Wishing Wall.

Lunar New Year 2018 AP Photo backdrop

There's also a special Lunar New Year button available to Annual Passholders.

Lunar New Year 2018 AP button

There are several exclusive pieces of merchandise available to Annual Passholders at Elias & Co. or the festival merchandise kiosk in front of Ariel's Undersea Adventure.

Lunar New Year 2018

There's even more entertainment offered this year, with performers from around the world.

Mulan's Lunar New Year Procession returns with a few changes. Goofy, as the God of Good Fortune, joins the procession, along with a dance group from Taiwan. The show is performed four times a day. It's a beautifully colored and energetic show and I think it's worth seeing, but unfortunately the prime viewing is pretty small. I'd recommend arriving 30 minutes early to get a front row spot.

Lunar New Year 2018 God of Good Fortune Goofy

Lunar New Year 2018 Mulan's Lunar New Year Procession

Full video - one of my favorite parts is when Goofy gets his groove on at the end.

New this year is GuGu Drum Group from Shanghai. They are a group of drummers who tell traditional stories with percussion. There are six shows a day in Paradise Park - the shows are about 30 minutes long. Visually I found them very interesting, but since I don't understand the stories or traditions, I thought the show was too long.

Lunar New Year 2018 GuGu  Drum Group Shanghai
Dat Nguyen returns to the Paradise Garden stage for the third year. He sings and plays several different instruments: guitar, lute, and melodica.

Lunar New Year 2018 Dat Nguyen

Also appearing on the Paradise Garden stage is Korean musician Luna Lee. She plays a Korean stringed instrument called a gayageum. She was not performing the day I visited.

This video is an entertainment overview, including a short interview with Mulan and Mushu on their favorite thing about Lunar New Year.

Each night preceding the first World of Color show, the Hurry Home - Lunar New Year Celebration is presented on Paradise Bay. It's the story of a little lantern making his way home so he can celebrate with his family. It features animation, lights, and fountains, and ends with a fireworks display. It's a cute show.

Lunar New Year 2018 Hurry Home

Lunar New Year 2018 Hurry Home

This is last year's video - the show is the same except that now it's the Year of the Dog.

Just to give you a general idea of the schedule, here's a copy of the opening weekend's Times Guide. (Click on the image for a full-size version.)

lunar-new-year-schedule.jpeg

Like last year, I was impressed by all of the different offerings available during the Lunar New Year celebration - Mulan's Procession in particular is a "don't miss". It's easy to spend a good portion of a park visit enjoying all of the different entertainment and some of the food. Right now with so many construction walls in Disney California Adventure because of the Pixar Pier project and other seasonal refurbishments, the festival provides some needed additional entertainment alternatives to guests.

Lunar New Year 2018

* I was an invited guest to a Lunar New Year Celebration Media event. My opinions are my own.






January 17, 2018

Disneyland Resort Updates from January 12

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, January 12, 2018.

In this picture set I take a look at the many projects going on around the Disneyland Resort this winter. For a more in depth look at these as well as other random pictures be sure to visit my full update.

Preparation work for the new parking structure and tram stop at the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure is underway. Planters are being removed so they can re-route the trams. The new structure will be built on the Pinocchio Parking lot.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

New billboards at the tram stop featuring the new marketing slogan on them.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Now onto the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge check. Here is a video overview from the roof of the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure.



A long shot of the side facing Disneyland Drive. Notice the exterior siding is now all installed on both buildings.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

The peaks in the distance and to the left more support steel for rock work taking shape.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Panning right to the shorter of the peaks visible over the Battle Escape Building. The scaffolding is up and it looks ready for concrete.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Further right the taller of the shorter peaks has most of its wire mesh installed so you can see the shape and scaffolding is going up.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Continuing to the right toward Critter Country. They are sealing the roof of the concrete structure that was recently created. Dirt will most likely be brought in all the way to the top of the black.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Most of the Chip and Dale level of the parking structure is blocked off as they prepare for tram stop changes.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Here you can see the current route to the left and a fenced in walkway from the stairs to the crossing on the right.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

In Downtown Disney, Ride Makerz has closed.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

The Build-a-Bear is closed too, but The Dress Shop remains open for now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Finishing touches continue on the exterior of Splitsville. No opening date has been announced.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Furniture is now visible inside.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

New winter plantings throughout Downtown Disney.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Arriving at Disneyland. Most signs of Christmas are gone from the parks now. Only a few random decorations and Small World Holiday remain. A large project has taken over Main Street. The horse-drawn streetcar tracks are being completely replaced for the first time in the park's history. Several of the rails and tracks are original from 1955. So as you enter the park you are greeted by construction walls that block off Town Square.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

The view from the train station. They are working on the perimeter of Town Square, the center portion is untouched.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Plastic and boards are down to protect the concrete and areas that are not being worked on.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

The straight portion of the street is not behind walls yet. They are working on the two ends first.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

The hub is also encircled with construction walls.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

One piece of equipment was visible working over the wall.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Sleeping Beauty Castle. The Christmas decorations, lights and icicles are all gone. Snow remains.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Walls up along the grass opposite Small World.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

A check of the Star Wars peaks from the Miss Daisy.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

A winter Annual Passholder popcorn special has started.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

The AP bucket.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

In Fantasyland Dumbo is behind walls. In addition to a regular renovation they are moving the queue and adding a new shade structure to it.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Walls ring northern edge of Fantasyland around Dumbo.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Haunted Mansion is closed for a couple weeks for removal of the holiday overlay. It looks like they may be working on the queue for Haunted Mansion. A lot of plastic covers up in the area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

A check of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge from the Mark Twain. More wire mesh and scaffolding being added.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Over at Disney California Adventure, the Festival of Holidays marketplaces and signs are all gone.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

A different AP popcorn bucket is for sale at DCA, the one on the left.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Grizzly River Run is closed for its annual renovation work.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

A Fastpass cart out in the Bay Area being used for Toy Story FastPass distribution since the regular area is behind walls. This saves a lot of steps. No indication of return times though, so you have to ask, check the app, or look at someone's ticket.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Walls are also up around the Sonoma Terrace area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Christmas decorations are removed from the Pier entrance sign but not the Paradise Pier sign yet. Beyond the sign notice the canopy is gone and Treasures in Paradise sign is removed too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Ariel's Grotto is closed and the signs on the left side are gone.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

All the gondolas on the Fun Wheel are removed for renovation.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Walls are up around Screamin' as it is being transformed into the Incredicoaster.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Walking toward Toy Story Mania, which remains open.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

The walkway narrows a bit as you go further along.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Walls up at Toy Story blocking the rest of the pier. The line on the right is for Stand-by. FastPass return uses the regular handicap access path adjacent to the store.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Scaffolding is going up around the launch hill of Screamin.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

King Triton's is also still open.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

The top of the loop has been removed from the coaster for renovation and guessing access.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

The queue cover for the Fun Wheel has been removed.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

No visible change to the stores yet.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Walls are up from Boardwalk Pizza to the swings forming a dead end.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

The Bakery Tour is closed until February, the cafe is still open though.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Route 66, Cars Land. Christmas is removed but the poles on the right have not been removed yet.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

The current park maps feature the same images as the banners and billboards with the new marketing campaign. I prefer the attraction or entertainment covers to some random kid.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Returned to Disneyland. This gives an idea of how narrow the entry is now with the construction.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

Small World holiday runs January 21.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

The flags in Town Square stay up all night due to the construction. There is a spot light on them.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

The back portion of the Chip and Dale level was in use today.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 12, 2018

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









November 22, 2017

The Holidays at Disneyland, 2017

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Disneyland Holidays 2017

The holiday season is a very festive time at the Disneyland Resort. There's a lot going on at both theme parks with decorations and entertainment, merchandise, special foods, and character greetings.

My most recent park visit was November 18 - in addition to the holiday celebration, it was also Mickey Mouse's birthday! All park guests received a birthday button upon entering either theme park. There were also lots of photo opportunities with this larger version of the birthday button.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

There was some special merchandise available (sorry, no photos). Also a special birthday cake crispy treat.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

At 11:45 was a "character cavalcade" as Mickey's friends gathered to wish him "Happy Birthday".

Disneyland Holidays 2017

I didn't have the best spot to see it, but here's the video of the ceremony.

In other non-holiday news...Star Tours now features two new scenes plus a new character hologram. The first new destination is the planet Crait, which will be featured in the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi film. At the end of the ride the Star Speeder lands on Batuu - a remote outpost at the Galaxy's Edge (see what I did there?). There is more detail than we've seen in the concept art so far. The current version of Star Tours also re-visits the planet Jakku, in the same scene that was introduced last year, and includes an appearance by a new holographic character: Maz Kanata. Guests seemed quite enthusiastic about the new scenes the two times I experienced it on Saturday.

Disneyland Star Tours

But back to the holiday celebration...

"it's a small world" Holiday is back, now in its 21st season.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

It's especially beautiful at night when all the lights come on.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

After dark, there's a projection sequence on the facade every 15 minutes, set to music. This takes place a couple of minutes after the clock sequence that occurs on each quarter hour.

Lots of holiday entertainment in most areas of the park.

"A Christmas Fantasy" Parade is always fun to watch. I didn't notice any big changes this year.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

Disneyland Holidays 2017

Disneyland Holidays 2017

I always enjoy the Sleeping Beauty Castle Wintertime Enchantment lighting. It generally occurs twice each night, at 6:00 and 7:30.

The Believe...in Holiday Magic fireworks show takes place each night during the holiday season.

There's a Rivers of America Holiday Celebration this year. The Royal Street Bachelors perform on the river several times each evening. The "Believe" fireworks show can be viewed from there, and there's snowfall at the end of the show.

On Main Street, the Dapper Dans, in their candy cane-striped vests, perform a number of sets of holiday music throughout the day. The Dickens Yuletide Band also performs on Main Street.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

Disney characters in holiday attire are available for meet-and-greets in Town Square, and Santa Claus is taking Christmas wish lists in Critter Country.

Though not all parts of the park are decorated, there are some fun decorations in Toon Town.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

I like Roger Rabbit's Santa hat.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

The holiday popcorn bucket this year features Pluto. They've been very popular, but fortunately there seem to be lots of them available.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

There's a new Ornament Stein this year. Depending on where it's purchased, it might come with a beverage or food like grapes or pineapple.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

There are lots of holiday foods this year, though I haven't sampled any of them yet. I'm disappointed that the seasonal beignets at Mint Julep Bar are candy cane dusted this year...the gingerbread ones were always my favorites. There's also Santa's mittens macaron, praline cheesecake, a yule log, candy apple cotton candy, and even savory items like Enchanted Maize Flatbread (Red Rose Taverne) and Bison Blue Cheeseburger (Hungry Bear Restaurant). Lots of different cookies and crispy treat items available throughout the resort. I thought these new crispy treats, which look like gingerbread, were very cute.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

There's a lot going on at Disney California Adventure, also. You can read about the Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure in a previous blog post.

New this year are two different attraction overlays in Cars Land: Mater's Jingle Jamboree and Luigi's Joy to the Whirl. Both feature new holiday songs by Mater and Luigi.

I'm sorry that the audio is hard to hear - there don't seem to be speakers placed very conveniently in Luigi's attraction, and the sound of the cars themselves is pretty loud.

World of Color - Season of Light returns for its second season. This is my favorite version of World of Color - it seems like the show designers have taken everything they've learned over the years about what the fountains and lasers and projections can do, and brought it all together. I think it looks great, with lots of "Wow!" moments and I love all of the holiday music - everything from classics by Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, and Jose Feliciano to more contemporary music by Pentatonix and Transiberian Orchestra.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

Again this year Santa Claus and his elves can be found at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, aka Santa's Holiday Visit, where kids can try out the "Elf Games".

Disneyland Holidays 2017

And Santa is there, too, of course.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

There's a Treats for Santa vending cart selling a cookie decorating kit and beverages.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

Over at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa there's a huge gingerbread house in the lobby.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

Next to the gingerbread house is a stand selling treats like gingerbread cookies and ornament cookies, hot chocolate and hot cider - and adult versions of the beverages with RumChata, Peppermint Schnapps, or Spiced Rum added.

Disneyland Holidays 2017

I've visited twice, and I still haven't seen everything this holiday season. Guess that just means I'll have to return again before the holiday season ends on January 7.






November 15, 2017

Disney California Adventure Festival of Holidays

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Festival of Holidays 2017

The Festival of Holidays has returned to Disney California Adventure for its second year. Like last year, the Festival celebrates holiday traditions from around the world: Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Navidad, and Diwali. There's entertainment, character greetings, crafts, and of course FOOD!

This year there are twelve different Festive Food Marketplaces as well as special menus at the Paradise Garden Grill and the Sonoma Terrace. The Marketplaces are located along the parade route from Carthay Circle to the Golden Zephyr in Paradise Pier.

Festive Food Marketplace Menus

There are a few returning marketplaces (Making Spirits Bright, Brews & Bites, Winter Sliderland) and some returning food and beverage items, but most of the 60+ selections are new. Food prices range from $3.75-$5.00 for dessert items to $5.00-$7.75 for savory items. I was pleasantly surprised that some of the prices were lower this year, as much as a dollar, though most were $0.25-$.50 decreases. Wine and beer flights also had a modest price decrease. While prices for individual glasses of wine were generally unchanged or slightly up, the price for individual servings of beers was down $0.75 (though I think $9.00 is still high for a less-than-full-size serving of beer).

Annual Passholders can purchase a Sip and Savor Pass for $45. The pass has 8 tabs that can be redeemed for food and most non-alcoholic beverages at the Marketplaces. If used for items priced at $6.00 and higher it can provide a significant savings. Passholders must present their AP to purchase the passport, and most cast members at the order kiosks require you to show your AP when using one of the tabs.

Festival of Holidays 2017 Sip and Savor Pass

When using a tab at the Marketplaces, AP holders receive a small AP button. There are 11 different colors available (no button for Making Spirits Bright, since there are no eligible items there).

Festival of Holidays 2017 small AP marketplace buttons

All guests can pick up a Festival of Holidays Tasting Passport. They should be available at the ordering station of any of the Marketplaces. The passport lists the menus of each Marketplace along with some photos, and there's also a spot for a different sticker that is available at each Marketplace. No purchase necessary for the sticker, and it's helpful if you open it to the correct page before giving it to the cast member at the ordering station. After getting all of the stickers a Stamp of Completion is available at several locations.

Festival of Holidays 2017 Tasting Passport

I tried several food and beverage items on my visit earlier this week. When I first read the list of menu items, the one that most intrigued me was the Frosty Frosé - frozen rosé, blue Curacao & white cranberry juice from the A Twist on Tradition kiosk. $At $13.00 it's expensive, but it was very refreshing.

Festival of Holidays 2017 Frosty Frose

From the same place I also tried the Butternut Squash & Almond Pakora Fritters. $6.00 for these, and the best bite that I had all day. The fritters were soft and warm inside with a good flavor.

Festival of Holidays 2017 Butternut Squash and Almond Fritters

At Blissfully Braised I tried the Braised Pork Belly Adobo with garlic fried rice and sliced green onions. Wow...so tender! The pork belly was a bit too fatty, though. I think the crunchy bits on top were fried pork rinds, but I'm not sure. I thought it was a reasonable portion size for $7.50 - especially since I used one of my tabs and it cost me less than $6. :-)

Festival of Holidays 2017 Pork Belly Adobo

Grilled Chicken Sausage with Red Beans and Rice was my selection from Grandma's Recipes. Whew, that's one spicy grandma, and this dish was too hot for me, especially the beans. I couldn't eat them. Too much chili powder for me. $7.25 for this one.

Festival of Holidays 2017 Chicken Sausage with Red Beans and Rice

From Winter Sliderland I had one of the returning items from last year: Roasted Turkey Slider with Cranberry Sauce ($7.50). It's like Thanksgiving dinner on a bun: dressing on the bottom, then lots of sliced turkey, covered in gravy with a drizzle of cranberry sauce. Yummy, though it's very similar to the Holiday Turkey at Earl of Sandwich, and that one is bigger and cheaper.

Festival of Holidays 2017 Turkey Slider

Last was the Baked Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes from Festive Holiday Extras. $6.50. Good-sized serving, and very cheesy and filling.

Festival of Holidays 2017 Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
There are special holiday drinks available at the Hollywood Backlot area. I tried the Fireside Cider for $12.00. It's hot apple cider with a shot of cinnamon whiskey. It tasted good on a cool evening.

Festival of Holidays 2017 Fireside Cider

There's also a special menu at Paradise Garden Grill. It's basically the same as last year: burritos, street tacos, chicken mole. I haven't tried any of it yet. The Sonoma Terrace has a new menu for the Festival, offering chicken caesar and portobello mushroom and zucchini grilled "piadina" wraps.

In addition to all of the food and beverage offerings there's a variety of entertainment available during the Festival. I spent much of my time at the Festival just wandering between the entertainment venues - and I still didn't see everything.

The Sound is new to the Festival this year, performing on a stage next to the Pacific Wharf Cafe. They are an a capella group, performing holiday favorites as well as a song about Kwanzaa. I really enjoyed their performance.

Festival of Holidays 2017 The Sound

The Mariachi Divas also perform at the Pacific Wharf stage, but I didn't see them that day.

Mostly Kosher and Blue13 Dance Co. are returning groups, both appearing on the stage at Paradise Pier Park. Mostly Kosher is a klezmer band, though they also perform in several musical styles such as Latin, R&B, jazz, and rock. "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone" was one of their numbers - quite unexpected, but very well done.

Festival of Holidays 2017 Mostly Kosher

Blue13 Dance Co. celebrates Diwali with traditional folk dances, in addition to a Bollywood-inspired disco party.

Festival of Holidays 2017 Blue13 Dance Co

This video contains short clips from performances by The Sound, Mostly Kosher, and Blue13 Dance Co.

The Holiday Toy Drummers, my favorite from last year, have also returned, but to a new location. They are performing at the Paradise Pier Obelisk (I'd never seen that term before - it's the entrance to Paradise Pier next to Ariel's Undersea Adventure). I don't like the new location because the sun is behind them which makes them hard to see/photograph unless you're off to the side. The drummers always look like they are having as much fun as the audience. I've seen them a number of times now, and they still make me smile every time.

New this year is the Holiday Sunset Concert. Each evening at either 6:00 or 6:30 there's a 40+minute show. Phat Cat Swinger performs Friday-Monday, and the Mariachi Divas perform Tuesday-Thursday. I saw Phat Cat Swinger, and they really put on a great show. They are a "Little Big Band" and performed a lot of swinging music in the style of the "Brat Pack" - Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin. Mostly holiday music, but there were a few other songs like "Bella Notte" and "Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which was my favorite of the evening. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert, and hope to see them again this holiday season.

Also returning this year to the Paradise Gardens area are !Viva Navidad! street party and Princess Elena's Musical Grand Arrival. Holiday foods and character meet and greets with Princess Elena and other Disney characters are also available there.

Festival of Holidays 2017 Viva Navidad

Other Festival offerings...there's several tables set up in front of Ariel's Undersea Adventure where guests can do some holiday-themed crafts like coloring a Diwali lantern.

Festival of Holidays 2017

Festival merchandise is available at several kiosks along the parade route. A Festival of Holidays souvenir hot/cold mug is available at many of the Marketplaces.

Festival of Holidays 2017 beverage cup

For Annual Passholders, the AP Corner is located in the Sonoma Terrace this year. Passholders can get a Festival button (only one design this year, rather than a new one every couple of weeks) and purchase AP-exclusive merchandise. There's also a special AP photo op.

Festival of Holidays 2017 AP Corner

Festival of Holidays 2017 AP button

Festival of Holidays 2017 AP merchandise

OK. I think that covers all of the Festival of Holidays activities! There's a lot more holiday fun going on at Disney California Adventure - but that'll be for another blog post.







November 13, 2017

First Look: Holidays at Disneyland Resort

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, November 10, 2017, for a first look at the holiday offerings around the resort.

I arrived to find a very busy parking structure at the Disneyland Resort. The line of cars to enter the parking structure stretched beyond the Disneyland Drive overpass.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

A couple of video clips giving an overview of the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Construction site this afternoon.



Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

The exterior siding is almost all installed along Disneyland Drive now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

A closer look at the rock work.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Buena Vista Street Christmas decorations.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

A long line for Smokejumpers Grill.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

The FastPass return for Soarin was backed up and curved toward Smokejumpers

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

The hot item today appeared to be the Pluto Holiday Popcorn bucket.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

The Country Bears are back this year. They are meeting between Grizzly River Run and the Bay Area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Some new Toy Soldier decorations in the planter near Paradise Pier.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Mostly Kosher performing in Paradise Park

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

A video clip of Mostly Kosher performing.

Festival of Holidays Marketplace Kiosks are all open. Laura will be doing a full posting on the food...so here is just one menu picture to show what the format is.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Princess Elena's Musical Grand Arrival has returned to Paradise Gardens this year.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

The Sound was performing in the Pacific Wharf area when I walked by. They are a new group this year.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

More Toy Soldiers

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

A Festival of Holidays photo location - Pluto was there as I walked by. Clarabelle Cow also appears there.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Next stop Disneyland. The hub has its Holiday plantings

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Partners Statue and Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Ornament Steins were for sale at various locations in both parks. Here is the offering at the coffee cart in the hub.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Found a spot on Main Street in the hub for A Christmas Fantasy Parade. Before the Parade Taffany's Dance Academy Twinkle Holiday Parade

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

A video clip of the Twinkle Holiday Parade.

A Christmas Fantasy Parade making its way up Main Street USA.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

The Mailroom scene features Mickey, Minnie, Chip, Dale and Donald again this year.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

The Winter Wonderland Group is next.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Gingerbread Treats, Clarabelle Cow has been updated this year.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Santa and his reindeer finale to the parade

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Made my way through the crowd after the parade to Town Square for the nightly Flag Retreat. A good size crowd gathering for the kick off to Veteran's Day weekend.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

it's a small world holiday

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

it's a small world finale room video

Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Moving back to Disney California Adventure...Disney Viva Navidad! is back in Paradise Pier again this year.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Disney Viva Navidad! Finale Video Clip

Phat Cat Swinger performing at the Holiday Sunset Concert at Paradise Pier

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Phat Cat Swingers - Sleigh Ride Video Clips

Phat Cat Swingers - Belle Notte Video Clip

Phat Cat Swingers - It's Beginning to Look a Like Christmas

Phat Cat Swingers - Run Run Rudolph Video Clip

Stormtrooper sourdough bread being made at the Boudin Bakery.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Luigi is celebrating the holidays with the new "Joy to the Whirl" holiday overlay.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Hollywood Land has minimal decorations again this year. Santa and his reindeer are back.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Buena Vista Street Christmas Tree

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Disneyland Town Square Christmas Tree

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Believe in Holiday Magic Fireworks.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Believe in Holiday Magic final and snow fall clip



Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Back to California Adventure

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Mater's Jingle Jamboree Video Clip of one the songs

Mater's Jingle Jamboree Video Clip of one the songs plus some jokes he told between cycles.

World of Color - Season of Light

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

World of Color - Season of Light - Goofy Decorating video clip



Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 10, 2017

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









September 19, 2017

Halloween Time 2017 at Disney California Adventure

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There's lots of special Halloween treats at Disney California Adventure this Halloween season. I already wrote a blog about the new Haul-O-Ween celebration in Cars Land, but there's other areas in the park that are also celebrating the season.

A huge shadow of Oogie Boogie, the boogeyman from "Nightmare Before Christmas", stands over the entrance to Disney California Adventure. At night he talks to guests, enticing them into the park.

DCA Halloween Time

Buena Vista Street is decorated with bats, Halloween banners, and window displays. According to Imagineers, the bats will multiply as time goes on.

DCA Halloween Time

The Carthay Circle Restaurant is decorated with banners and appears to have bats flying out of its belfry.

DCA Halloween Time

It's involved in a nighttime lighting moment when the bells peal (the first time bells have sounded) and Oogie Boogie unleashes his spell bringing a spooky Halloween atmosphere to Buena Vista Street.

The Disney characters are in costumes for the occasion - costumes that might have been popular in the 1920s. Mickey wears a bat costume and Donald a pumpkin costume.

DCA Halloween Time

Goofy is the "Spirit of Halloween" in a ghostly costume.

DCA Halloween Time

In the plaza outside Elias & Co. is a new 10-foot statue of the Headless Horseman.

DCA Halloween Time

There are special effects at night as the pumpkin head lights up and the horse appears to breathe fire.

In Hollywood Land, each night from 6:00 until park closing, Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! becomes Guardians of the Galaxy - Monsters After Dark. Inside The Fortress, the Guardians have just escaped, and things are a bit, well, chaotic with all of escaped creatures running around. In all of the excitement Groot has been left behind, and Rocket is trying to rescue him - with the help of guests and their very attractive heat signatures...

The blue lights of The Lobby have given way to flashing red warning lights and the Collector's assistant Alpheta appears on the large video screen, attempting to reassure guests that their VIP tour will still continue.

DCA Halloween Time

In the Collector's office, Rocket is using the security system to search for Groot, and he has a plan.

In the Gantry area there are search lights and lots of sound effects.

DCA Halloween Time

Once aboard the Gantry lift, the attraction experience takes place to the new song "Monsters After Dark", written for the attraction by Tyler Bates, composer for the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies. New visuals of Groot and Rocket, along with a rather intimidating escaped creature, appear during the ride. There's just a single song for this one, rather than the six during the daytime.

I rode the attraction and this new version is so much fun! Certainly enhanced by doing it when it's dark outside. Looking up at The Fortress from the outside there's additional lighting and other special effects at night.

DCA Halloween Time

Fastpasses for Monsters After Dark are available at the regular Fastpass kiosks beginning at 3:00 p.m. They are also available at that time to those with the MaxPass feature via the Disneyland app. Monsters After Dark is scheduled to end on October 31.

But wait, there's even more at Disney California Adventure.

In Paradise Gardens is Plaza de la Familia, a Celebration of Coco and the Everlasting Bonds of Family. The area is inspired by the tradition of Dia de los Muertos, which celebrates loved ones who have passed away. A number of experiences are available including complimentary face painting and a Tree of Life photo opportunity. Guests are also invited to write down a memory and share it on the "Recuerdos de me Familia" wall.

DCA Halloween Time

A Musical Celebration of Coco is performed five times a day in the area just outside the Plaza de la Familia sign. A storyteller relates some of the story of the upcoming film "Coco" and performs several songs from the movie. He is joined by Folklorico dancers, puppeteers, and the Mariachi Divas. It's a very colorful and upbeat show - I enjoyed it. But there's a limited viewing area, so arrive early if you want a spot in front.

DCA Halloween Time

The World of Coco is an exhibit featuring images that depict characters and settings from the movie. There's also an "ofrenda" - a remembrance altar - inspired by the "ofrenda" Miguel builds in the movie.

DCA Halloween Time

The Paradise Garden Grill has a new menu with Mexican items such as Mole Verde con Pollo, Yucatan-inspired Vaporcitos (chicken tamales), Tortitas de Papa con Queso (crispy potato cakes and cheese), and the traditional Pan de Muerto.

DCA Halloween Time

There's also a snack stand offering Elote (street-style corn-on-the-cob), Ensalada de Frutas, and Paletas (frozen fruit bars).

DCA Halloween Time

Plaza de la Familia runs through November 2. Some elements will move to "a bug's land" from November 5-January 7 while the sneak peek of "Coco" is running in the theater there.

DCA Halloween Time






September 18, 2017

It's Haul-O-Ween Time!

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Haul-O-Ween

The Disneyland Resort has been celebrating Halloween Time for a number of years. Most of the focus has been on Disneyland with all of the decor such as the Main Street Pumpkin Festival, and attraction overlays like Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. There was a small presence in Disney California Adventure for a few years, the last being 2009.

Enter John Lasseter, who wanted to bring a Halloween celebration to Cars Land. Radiator Springs became Radiator Screams, and "Haul-O-Ween" rolled off the production line. (John Lasseter designed these decorations that hang across the streets.)

Haul-O-Ween

It is, in one word, fabulous. Or maybe I mean faBOOlous. Incredible depth of detail. So creative and imaginative with so many fun little touches. I think it's the best new decor Disney has done at the U.S. parks in years. (I haven't seen Pandora yet.)

So how do cars celebrate Haul-O-Ween? I'm so glad you asked. They dress in "car-stumes". Mater is a "van-pire".

Haul-O-Ween

Lightning McQueen is a superhero.

Haul-O-Ween

DJ is a "trunk rocker".

Haul-O-Ween

They go "Trunk-or-Treating".

Haul-O-Ween

They decorate their homes. And just like we have our individual ways of decorating, so do they. At the entrance to town is Scary the Scare-car.

Haul-O-Ween

Mater's Junkyard has been transformed into Mater's Graveyard JamBOOree.

Haul-O-Ween

The baby tractor also wears a car-stume.

Haul-O-Ween

In the queue are lots of tombstones.

Haul-O-Ween

All of the songs are Haul-O-Ween themed. Several are new lyrics to old tunes ("Radiator Rock" is now "Lizzie's Gone Witchy"), but there are two parodies of well-known Halloween songs: "Monster Truck Smash" ("Monster Mash" by Bobby "Boris" Pickett), and "Purple Fender Bender" ("Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley). Really clever - they made me laugh.

The Radiator Springs Drive-In is showing some interesting movies.

Haul-O-Ween

Sarge has a Pump-kin patch. You can also see one of the "car-achnids" that has infested Radiator Screams - there are 30 of them.

Haul-O-Ween

The cones of Sally's Cozy Cone Motel have all been decorated with spooky faces.

Haul-O-Ween

Inside the office, Sally has a model of the Brake's Motel made out of candy.

Haul-O-Ween

Lizzie has gone all-out in decorating her curio shop, where she sells "Boo-venirs".

Haul-O-Ween

Haul-O-Ween

In front of the store is an old wrecked car. It's been there a long time - there's a tree growing out of it.

Haul-O-Ween

But apparently it has an undead battery that won't let it "rust in peace." The zombie car lights up and steams occasionally as it tries to get a jump on life. (And no, these are NOT the remains of Stanley!)

A giant spider web covers Flo's V8 Cafe.

Haul-O-Ween

Just outside the entrance to the Cafe is the Spider-Car, which is a PhotoPass photo location. (The car used to be a Toadmobile.)

Haul-O-Ween

Ramone is celebrating Dia de los Muertos at his House of Body Art. Outside is "Sugar", a sugar car decorated like a sugar skull.

Haul-O-Ween

Inside the shop there's an "ofrenda" that celebrates Doc Hudson.

Haul-O-Ween

Luigi and Guido had never celebrated Haul-O-Ween in Italy, but now it's their favorite holiday. They've constructed an orange and black tower of tires outside.

Haul-O-Ween

Luigi sings Haul-O-Ween versions of Italian festival songs in the new holiday version of his attraction "Luigi's Honkin' Haul-O-Ween", such as "Haul-O-Ween Italiano." "The Terror-antella" tells the story of how he and Guido built "Scary the Scare-car", who can be seen at the entrance to Radiator Springs.

Next to Luigi's is the "Horn-O-Plenty". It was originally found on Haul-O-Ween night in 1936. Every year the citizens of Radiator Screams put it on display.

Haul-O-Ween

At night the courthouse seems to come to life. A mad scientist put jumper cables on the windows. :-)

The Cadillac Range has new purple and green lighting at night. It looks appropriately spooky. No changes to Radiator Springs Racers.

Haul-O-Ween

At dusk, when the usual "Sha-Boom" Lighting Moment starts to take place, it's interrupted by supernatural forces, and becomes "Sha-BOO!" instead. The Sheriff's voice then welcomes everyone to Radiator Screams. The background music changes to a new soundtrack of Haul-O-Ween music for the rest of the night.

There is a surprisingly large selection of "Haul-O-Ween"-inspired food and beverage. It's available only in Cars Land.

Fillmore's has Van-pire Mater Bread - sourdough bread with cheese baked on top. I tried this and it's quite good. $8.49.

Haul-O-Ween

Flo's V8 Cafe offers a Car-achnid Pot Pie, Grape Ghoul-ant Shake, and Mini Candy Cone Pie.

Haul-O-Ween

I tried the pot pie, and it was really good. Chicken pot pie with dried cranberries inside in addition to vegetables and chunks of chicken. Nice flaky crust on top. Served with coleslaw for $11.49. I couldn't eat it all.

Haul-O-Ween

There's several items available at the Cozy Cones. The Slow-Burnin' Mac and Cheese is served in a black cone.

Haul-O-Ween

The Spoke-y Cone Macaron is filled with marshmallow buttercream and candy corn.

Haul-O-Ween

Junkyard JamBOOree Mix is flavored popcorn with "nuts and bolts" - green M&M's, candy corn, chocolate covered pretzels, Boston baked beans and so on.

Haul-O-Ween

The cones also have a souvenir spooky traffic cone beverage cup available.

Haul-O-Ween

There's a lot to see in Radiator Screams, and it's really a lot of fun!






August 14, 2017

Disneyland Resort Updates from August 11

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, August 11, 2017.

Summer is quickly drawing to an end at the Disneyland Resort. Friday I met up with Laura and we enjoyed the the final day of the 2017 Disneyland Resort All-American College Band and caught up.

Starting off with a check of the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure. Here is a video overview.

The concrete building on the right of the Battle Escape Building has all the forms removed now from the walls.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Panning left to the Battle Escape building.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

In the distance the Millennium Falcon building.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Crews working on the roof and the exterior wall preparations on the Battle Escape building. On the roof the last section is being prepared for a concrete pour.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Rebar starting to bridge the gap and connect the concrete building to the wall on the right to close off the backstage area.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

A steel support structure for the facade/rock work over the Millennium Falcon building.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

First stop Buena Vista Street. Julius Katz and Sons no longer has pins, they moved next door to Atwater Ink and Paint. In that area now are figures and music boxes. The pins are in the front section closest to the street in Atwater.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Disneyland Railroad passing by the Rivers of America, as seen from the Mark Twain.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Behind the train you can see the steel that will be mountains in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

On the east side of the river you can see more of the exterior wall for the Battle Escape building and some of the steel for more facade/rock work.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

A look through the fence into Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. The mound of dirt is gone.. but equipment parked in the line of sight today.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

The 2017 All American-College Band got off to a rough start for their last day. They arrived for the first set and instead of introducing them the speakers started blaring noise..
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

The 2017 Disneyland Resort All-American College Band performing their Moana Medley.

Stopped by the Jungle Cruise since the wait was under 10 minutes.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Gathered in Town Square for the 5:15pm Flag Retreat Ceremony.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Next up a trip through the Tree House. Another view of the River Belle roof work.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge from the Tree House
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

The band starting their set.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

The 2017 Disneyland Resort All-American College Band performing their Earth, Wind and Fire Tribute for the last time.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

The 2017 Disneyland Resort All-American College Band preparing for their final set at the Royal Theatre
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Ron joined them for one song.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

A couple of video clips from the final set of the 2017 Disneyland Resort All-American College Band.

The 2017 All-American College Band - A final introduction and Disney Medley to conclude their season.

Found a spot for the Main Street Electrical Parade out by "it's a small world." The parade runs through next weekend, August 20th. So this is likely my last viewing of it.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Here are several video clips from the Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade.

Mickey and Minnie on the drum float.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Some of the Alice in Wonderland group.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Clock striking midnight.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Dopey driving the mine train.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

Elliot and Pete
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

The finale to Honor America
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, August 11, 2017

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









June 5, 2017

Disneyland Resort Updates - 6/02/17

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, June 2, 2017.

Starting off with a check of the Star Wars Themed Land Construction from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure.



Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Starting on the left/north of the site and working our way to the right.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Steel is up on the far side of the Millennium Falcon attraction show building.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

More forms and walls taking shape on the right side of the steel for the large show building.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Toward Critter Country they are working on back filling and leveling off the the dirt on the right. On the left the trestle for the train.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

More steel for Splitsville is visible in Downtown Disney.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Work being done to the Cars Land entrance sign for Cars 3.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

The Animation Building is closed for renovation work.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

In the garden on Sunset near the Red Car stop was this hint of more Marvel to come.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

A quick video clip to help with location of this.

Extended queue for Guardians set up leading backstage but not needed this afternoon.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Black Widow is on the move through Hollywood Land. She comes out a half dozen times a day for a Heroic Encounter. She walks/rides through the area then stops for a meet and greet. As the truck turned onto Hollywood Blvd she got on board to ride.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Here are some video clips of the event.

A marketplace is being set up in front of Stage 12. It looked just about ready to open.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

PhotoPass photo op.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

In case you were wondering the Red Car marker now says Sunset Blvd instead of Hollywood Tower Hotel.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

The Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off! This occurs a half dozen times a day. A couple video clips from the Dance Off.

Face Painting is complimentary for the Summer of Heroes.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

The Frozen characters have moved to Stage 17 with the Animation Building closed.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Over at Disneyland the crane is still parked just past the exit to Big Thunder so no view of the trail today. But in the new guide maps the trail is not listed as closed...so the opening is close.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Parked on the far bank is another crane this one doing tree placement.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Some scaffolding remains up, the light colored spots are patches for the scaffolding that was there that have not been painted yet.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Quite a few trees are in the area now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Looking through the fence.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Well my guess of a waterfall was wrong for the terraces...they are planting trees in them today.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

A closer look

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Gathered around the Flagpole with the Disneyland Band for the nightly Flag Retreat.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

The purple artichoke flowers at the entrance to Tomorrowland really popped as you walked by.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

The FastPass return structure for Matterhorn is finished.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Mickey and the Magical Map was just about to get underway so I found a seat and sat back to enjoy the show.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

The permanent FastPass distribution area for the Matterhorn is now open. The machines each have a carved animal on them (the crate is the hardware for the system).

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

The Galactic Grill and Season of the Force signs are all gone from Tomorrowland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Bands have returned to Tomorrowland Terrace on Fri-Sun nights. Hard Days Night, a tribute to the Beatles performing tonight.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

A couple video clips from their show.

Classic Space Mountain has returned.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Tomorrowland signs at the entrance.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Back to Tomorrowland Terrace for a second set.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

Remember Dreams Come True Fireworks were cancelled due to wind (this happens frequently). In its place they ran the opening and closing sequences without the pyro...so soundtrack, projections and spot lights. Here is some video of the alternate show. They skipped the E-Ticket in the sky section. Also no Tinkerbell.

The current park maps. Inisde the maps now indicate where Wi-Fi hotspots are throughout both parks.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 2, 2017

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






May 28, 2017

Preview of Summer of Heroes at Disney California Adventure

Summer of Heroes

Jeanine, Jason, and Laura continue with their coverage of the Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! opening at Disney California Adventure with this preview of the Summer of Heroes.

The Summer of Heroes promotion includes limited time food and beverage, merchandise, and entertainment opportunities featuring Marvel Super Heroes. It runs until September 10.

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Avengers Training Initiative gives youngsters a chance to interact with Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Avengers special agents. Along the lines of the Jedi Training Academy, but with an Avengers theme. Training sessions take place several times a day on the Hollywood Backlot stage. Signups are available on a first come-first serve basis - on the day we were there the kiosk was outside Stage 17. If your child wishes to participate, we recommend making sign-up your first order of the day.

Summer of Heroes

Kids are separated into several groups where they have to work as a team. The also learn a sequence of defensive, evasive, and even offensive moves, which they later demonstrate against a HYDRA villain. (The Captain America shields they used had some entertaining Frisbee-like qualities when flung at the villain.)

Summer of Heroes


Jeanine: So when I saw the sneak peek presentation on it a little while ago (seen here) I thought this looked like a pretty interesting show. I would have been impressed if it actually did show kids some basic self-defense moves, which doesn't seem like a bad thing for anyone to know nowadays. My other thought on walking up to the show a little late, was that Iron Man sounds a lot like Tom Hanks doing Woody for some reason.

Black Widow Encounter - She patrols the Hollywood Backlot in her black armored vehicle, and interacts with guests. The more traditional meet-and-greet opportunity with Spider-Man and Captain America is also still available.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off! - As you'll see in the video below, we experienced a version of this during the Grand Opening event, though this may not be quite what guests will experience. The Disneyland web site lists it as an activity for kids and tweens. The Dance Off concludes with a visit by Groot, who "sticks" around for a meet and greet afterward.

Hero Action Center - What Super Hero are you most like? Is it Captain America, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, Black Widow? Or perhaps Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, or Spider-Man? At the Hero Action Center in the Hollywood Backlot you can take an interactive quiz that asks a series of questions to determine what Super Hero is most like you. The quiz is administered via a touch screen tablet. Afterward you'll receive a comic book and a sticker representing your Super Hero. There's a photo backdrop with a Photo Pass photographer, also.

Summer of Heroes

Jeanine: Considering I usually get "You are Ursula" on all these tests, this was pretty vindicating.

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Food for Super Heroes (or mere mortals)

There are a number of new food and beverages choices, in multiple locations around Hollywood Land.

Award Weiners - Three words: Funnel Cake Fries. Laura is really looking forward to these. They are available separately or included in the Angry Little Pudding Cup (below), a chocolate pudding, chocolate cookie, and whipped cream parfait.

Summer of Heroes

Schmoozies - Schmoozies will now be open in the morning, serving doughnuts in addition to smoothies and hot beverages . Doughnuts are available while they last. The Hulk-themed doughnut, filled with blackberry and black currant, will be available every day. As you might expect, it's huge. The other three will rotate. The Captain America doughnut is an apple pie doughnut, the "Spider Bite" is cinnamon spiced (think Red Hot candies), and the Groot doughnut is maple and bacon.

Summer of Heroes

Summer of Heroes

Cosmic Canteen - This is located on the far end of the Hollywood Backlot next to the Monsters, Inc. attraction. It will have a variety of "Cosmic Cocktails" and non-alcoholic "Breakout Beverages". Groot-shaped bread will be available - it's sourdough bread with cheese or jalapeno cheese. The eyes are black olives. The bread will also be available at Fairfax Market.

Summer of Heroes

Studio Catering Co. - the food truck in the backlot. A number of different items here! The Super Hero sub includes peppered salami, capocollo, mortadela and provolone, topped with lettuce, tomato, pickled onions, and pepperoncini.

Summer of Heroes

Multiverse Parfait with chocolate cake, white and dark chocolate mousse and cherry jelly, topped with chocolate ganache.

Falafel pitas: Chickpea fritters served with two different accompaniments - spinach, cucumber/mint slaw and yogurt sauce or pickled red cabbage, yellow peppers and charamoula sauce. Laura worked with a Disney chef to make some fritters:

Knowhere Eats will be a food kiosk (re-purposed from the Food and Wine Festival). It opens June 6, and in the meantime these items will be available at the Cosmic Canteen and Studio Catering Co. All of the food items are available with a vegetarian version.

The Most Dangerous Tacos in the Galaxy - Barbacoa beef tacos on green tortillas.

Summer of Heroes

Obviously Nachos - Blue corn tortilla chips with mojo-marinated chicken, red pepper cheese sauce and chipotle crema. Laura tried these and thought they were very good - not too spicy at all.

Summer of Heroes

Space Outpost Tacos - chicken street tacos with chopped cilantro and onions.

Summer of Heroes

Several alcoholic beverages are also available.

Summer of Heroes Merchandise - most is available only in Disney California Adventure, much of it exclusive to the Collector's Warehouse at the exit of the Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction. Lots of cute Baby Groot items. We got an overview:

While it's not a part of the Summer of Heroes, another new attraction also opened at Disney California Adventure: Disney Junior Dance Party!. This show for pre-school kids includes some of their favorite Disney Junior characters, like Doc McStuffins, Sophia the First, and characters from The Lion Guard and Mickey and Minnie Mouse from Mickey and the Roadster Racers. There's special effects like bubbles, snow, and confetti, and the kids are encouraged to get up and dance to the music.

Jeanine: I'm not sure I ever actually saw the show that preceded this one, but the dance party seemed high energy and fast-paced enough to keep most of the children's attention engaged. I would only make the additional observation that anyone going should probably expect exposure to the sights, sounds, and olfactory stimuli characteristic of a youthful audience.

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Jeanine: So between "Mission: BREAKOUT!" and "Summer of Heroes," there's a lot coming to Hollywood Land this season. Frankly, I'm just glad the three of us were able to cover it all and get out without any mishaps.

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...Oops.





May 27, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! Grand Opening

Jeanine, Jason, and Laura all attended the Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! opening at Disney California Adventure, so the blogs on the event are going to be collaborative efforts.

Jeanine and Laura have already presented a lot of background information on the attraction in two earlier blogs:
Sneak Peek at "Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!" and "Summer of Heroes"
First Look at Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!

This time we had more time to wander around the entire queue. The exterior queue is known as the "Gardens of the Galaxy". It is also part of the Collection, and features unusual plants and audio recordings.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!


Laura had the opportunity to do a recorded ride-through of Mission: BREAKOUT! She says: "I really enjoyed the attraction. There are six versions, with six different songs, though I've only experienced the one. I thought the visuals - which were filmed with the actors from the movie specifically for the attraction - worked well, though I wish they could have been a little longer. While the ride seems to have more intense motion than before, it is broken up by several stops - so that we can see those scenes. While I'm still not really convinced that this attraction fits into Hollywood Land, it was a lot of fun."

Laura also says:
"After the ride, be sure to listen to some of the comments you'll hear while you're still in the ride vehicle."

"Also, as you're in the exit hallway headed towards the Collector's Warehouse (gift shop), listen to the music and to some of the dialog and sounds you hear. I had the area to myself - once the ride is open I hope you'll still be able to hear it over the voices of everyone exiting the attraction."

Jeanine: "Having more time to walk around the entry this time, I noticed a similar effect in the main collection room--some of the exhibits move or talk, although they don't necessarily do it often and they don't do the same things all the time. The Ultron Sentry occasionally sings 'I've Got No Strings,' as in 'Age of Ultron,' but when I waited around for him to do it again, he said a different line."

Later in the day Laura spoke with Estefania Harbuck, Creative Producer for the attraction:

That night we all attended the Grand Opening of the Tivan Collection.

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Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, was there, along with Director/Writer James Gunn.

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Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!

Several members of the Guardians of the Galaxy cast were in attendance, including Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Benicio Del Toro (Taneleer Tivan),Michael Rooker (Yondu), and Pom Klementieff (Mantis).

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!
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The opening concluded with fireworks and lights on the Fortress.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!

Video of Opening Ceremony:

Afterwards, guests wanting to tour the Tivan Collection were treated to a Groot greet out in front of the citadel.

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We'll have more on the events taking place during the Summer of Heroes promotion in our next blog.

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(Jeanine: "Try not to call him a Trash Panda.")



May 25, 2017

Sneak Peek at "Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!" and "Summer of Heroes"

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Opening May 27 at Disney California Adventure is the newly rethemed attraction "Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!."

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Taking the place of the lightning-scarred "Twilight Zone Tower of Terror" in the back of Hollywood Land, GotGMB is set in the massive citadel of Taneleer Tivan, The Collector, from the Marvel comics and the MCU films "Thor: The Dark World, " and "Guardians of the Galaxy."

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Surrounding the building is a collection of totems and fauna designed to pay tribute to The Collector and his artifacts referred to as "Gardens of the Galaxy."

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AllEars.Net was invited to take an early look at the attraction, guided by Imagineer and lead Creative Executive Joe Rohde.

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Once inside what used to be the hotel lobby, guests are met by a large assortment of glass cases containing any number of unique items in Tivan's collection.

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At the far end of the room is a screen where guests touring the collection are met by a video introduction from their host, revealing some of his newer, more reluctant acquisitions.

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After making their way out of the collection room into Tivan's private office (previously the library,) guests touring the facility are met with another taped message from The Collector that is abruptly interrupted by Rocket Raccoon, a Guardian of the Galaxy (the smart one.) He has a plan to free his friends that requires your participation, some peril, and a lot of explosions.

Moving through the power room, sharp eyes (it's pretty dark) may notice a number of items in the Collection that appear somewhat familiar.

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Entering the Gantry Lift, part of The Collector's staff will seat you and have you raise your hands for scanning (coincidentally checking for seatbelts at the same time) and then your tour/breakout commences.

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As far as the actual ride is concerned, there are six different drop profiles, each with their own different soundtrack. Intermittent pauses take place where the doors open to reveal clips of the Guardians escaping their boxes, dealing with all the other occupants that have also been let free, and making their getaway. Like Star Tours, these segments can randomize separately, so you may see the same ones in conjunction with different drop profiles or completely different ones. The original cast was present for all the video which was directed by "Guardians" writer/director James Gunn.

Mechanically, as you might expect, the ride isn't intrinsically different from ToT. I did feel that the drops were generally more prolonged/intense, with more time spent hovering in free-fall off the seat than previously. I've seen complaints about the in-ride sequences being just video screens, but unless we're saying the ToT ghosts were real, I don't think that's much of a change. On the whole, I think that whereas ToT depended more on suspense and atmosphere to yield a frightening/thrilling experience, GotGMB uses loud and dynamic action, humor, and mixtape music to give riders more of a shock/surprise.

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After disembarking the lift, "backstage" corridors lead you, as usual, back to a conveniently located gift store where you can buy all the merchandise a Guardian would want.

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At the end of the ride, Joe Rohde returned for a brief Q&A, along with Dave Bushore, VP, Franchise Creative & Marketing at Marvel Studios and Brian Crosby, Creative Director of Marvel Themed Entertainment. Some things they addressed to varying degrees: Why Guardians? How does The Collector's Citadel fit in with Hollywood Land? What was the reaction of the cast to being a part of a ride?

Having broken out the Guardians, we were then taken backstage where we were given an advance look at some of the different facets of the "Summer of Heroes" event coming to DCA.

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Executive Chef John State shared with us some of the many new culinary creations that will be available around Hollywood Land to keep heroes well-fueled for crime fighting.

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The three things I was able to taste were the Promising Future Falafel, the Most Dangerous Tacos in the Galaxy, and the Multiverse Parfait. My favorite was probably the parfait which was a little on the sweet side but which incorporated an impressive number of different flavored layers. The tacos were too spicy for my palate, but I am a complete spice wimp so your mileage will probably vary.

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Finally, Dan Fields, Executive Creative Director, Disney Parks Live Entertainment, gave a presentation (accompanied by some special guests) on a few of the various superheroes that might be encountered this summer.

Whether joining Star-Lord and Gamora for "Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!" or getting drilled by Black Widow and Hawkeye in "Avengers Training Initiative," guests will find no shortage of chances to Hero Up.

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Clearly, a lot of activity going on in Hollywood Land this summer--one thing to note is the increasing emphasis on live character interaction for seasonal events which one could speculate is preparing people for more of the same to come in "Star Wars Land." Whether or not the encroachment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on DCA signals the beginning of a more wide-spread change in theme remains to be seen, but amidst all this uncertainty, there is a constant...

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...He is Groot.

May 17, 2017

Disneyland Resort Updates - 5/12/17

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us this subset of photos from his trip to the Disneyland Resort on Friday, May 12, 2017.

Laura will cover the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Expo so I am going to focus on what has changed since my last visit three weeks ago. Starting off with a video clip overview of the Star Wars construction from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure.

In the three weeks since my last visit the attraction show building steel has expanded more and a second crane is onsite starting the second show building.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Here is the second crane on the left (north) side of the other.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Steel rising up for the second atrtraction building.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017


Here you can see some of the concrete work for the second attraction building foundation.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The planters throughout Downtown Disney have been replanted for spring.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The directory for Downtown Disney has been updated.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Tour Gardens is being renovated so the tour assembly point is now the west Esplanade information booth.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

First stop Disneyland. A look through the fence at the end of the Big Thunder Trail. The walkway looks to be be just about done.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

A new structure on the roof of Pirates. A second control room for Fantasmic has been added.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Looking up river a barge is at the cofferdam as they work to remove it.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The Tom Sawyer Island raft sign is gone. Looks like they just cut it down.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The view as you enter Critter Country.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The river is full of water again.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

A look through the fence by the Hungry Bear at the new train bridge and the entrance tunnel to Star Wars from Critter Country.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

In New Orleans Square, the tracks are clear and the station is returning to normal as the railroad reopening preparations are underway.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Indiana Jones is closed for renovation.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Snow White Grotto has reopened.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

A video clip of Snow White Grotto

The Matterhorn has returned from its annual renovation. It now features FastPass.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

FastPass distribution is across the walkway in the corner where the 60th photo op was. Walls are up so guessing a permanent set is on the way. For now just carts.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Work in one of the planters at the Tomorrowland Terrace. The tree and all plants are gone.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Light and dark side churros in Tomorrowland now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The Buzz Lightyear sign is functional again with wait time, time and return time.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Over at Disney California Adventure, the Pixar Play Parade returned on Friday. The parade has returned to traveling from Paradise Pier to Hollywood Land.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The Incredibles

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jack Jack

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Buzz Lightyear

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Cars 3 banners along the parade route.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Unlike past films which had more elaborate signs the Cars 3 one is just a banner.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

It appears there will be no major changes to the Guardians FastPass distribution area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The walls are down and the exterior work appears to be wrapped up for the attraction. Two weeks until Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! opens.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Just some small barriers around the entrance and left side of the attraction.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

The sign on the corner is covered up still.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

At Disney's Grand Californian Hotel one pool and spa have reopened.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Guardians lit up for the evening.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

A couple video clips of the area.

Disneyland Drive looked like a parking lot when I was leaving with traffic at a near standstill as far as you could see.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 12, 2017

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







April 27, 2017

First Look at Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!

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Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT

On Tuesday I had the opportunity to take a hard hat tour of the new Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction. This was a media preview and members of the creative team from both Disney and Marvel took us into several areas of the new attraction, though we did not get to ride it. No photos or video were permitted, so I have just a few photos that Disney provided on this awesome thumb drive, and yes it was in a cassette tape case.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT

(All unattributed photos courtesy of Disney.)

Once we were behind the construction walls we donned our protective gear - safety vests and goggles, and hard hats.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT

Before we went inside Imagineers Estefania Harbuck (Creative Producer) and Danny Handke (Creative Director) shared some of the backstory of the attraction. The Collector (Tanaleer Tivan) has brought his Fortress to Earth, and has invited Terrans to be his VIP guests and see his collection - particularly his latest acquisition, the Guardians of the Galaxy. But Rocket has already escaped, and recruits guests to help him free the rest of the Guardians.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT

Without spoiling anything, I will say that I was encouraged by what I saw and heard. As announced in the press release, there will be six different ride scenarios, where the Guardians encounter different challenges as they make their escape. The visuals and the attraction's motion in each will be synchronized to a different classic rock/pop song. These include selections from The Jackson 5, Elvis Presley, and Pat Benatar. Estefania Harbuck mentioned that they are pushing the ride system and what it can do. There's lots of unpredictability in what you feel. She said: "This experience is high energy, it's fast, it's chaotic, and it's funny." The word "irreverent" was used a lot, also.

The attraction opens on May 27. The spaces we toured are still very much a work in progress, and a lot of finishing touches still need to be applied.

The Lobby already contains cases of artifacts all around the room - including overhead. Some of these are not necessarily from the Guardians movies and will be recognizable to Marvel fans. There are over 2200 props in the attraction. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT

We also saw the Maintenance Bay - the gantry loading area. It didn't really look a lot different to me from when it was the Service Elevator area of the Tower of Terror - it's still very industrial.

The final space was the "Collector's Warehouse" - a merchandise location by any other name. No merchandise yet, of course. And it might have been the most complete simply because most of what goes in there is merchandise displays.

During the Q&A, someone asked how this attraction will appeal to those who may not be familiar with the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Estefania Harbuck had this to say: "That's one thing that's really important to us. That you be able to walk in the front door with no prior knowledge of the Guardians of the Galaxy and be able to understand it and have a good time....And the ride experience is going to be so fun and thrilling too with the awesome soundtrack that even if you don't know who the Guardians are I really do think guests will have a good time."

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! opens on May 27.

WARNING - SOME ATTRACTION SPOILERS BELOW. IF YOU DON'T WISH TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE ATTRACTION, DON'T READ ANY FURTHER.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT

The exterior of the building is also part of the story. All of those colorful pipes on the outside of the Fortress contain organic matter that powers the generator which keeps the collection locked up. At night these pipes will appear to pulse and glow.

The outdoor queue contains items from the Collector's plant collection - Tivan's Oasis, aka The Gardens of the Galaxy (groan). It will have lots of strange and unusual plants - we could see the top of one of the trees over the wall. I'm sure the horticulture department has had lots of fun with that.

There's also an audio collection of music and sounds from all over the Galaxy that will play in the outside queue.

In the Lobby, some of the artifacts are inanimate and some are alive. One of the cases contains Kree artifacts from Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show. And recognizing the huge annual passholder fan base, there are a lot of theme park Easter eggs, though it wasn't clear to me whether those are in the Lobby or all throughout the attraction.

From the Lobby, guests will go into Tivan's office (a space we did not see) before going to the loading area.

The ride starts with a launch straight up - and then Rocket disables the generator. That also causes the vehicle to lose power and behave unpredictably as guests experience one of the six different scenarios.

The six versions were titled "Escape", "Abilisk Attack", "Drax vs Beast", "Anti-Gravity", "Quill vs Orloni", and "Drones." The songs (we don't know which song goes with which) are: "Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar (1980), “Give Up The Funk” by Parliament (1975), “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf (1968), “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5 (1969), “Free Ride” by The Edgar Winters Group (1973), and “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley (1972).

When exiting the attraction, in addition to music there are creature sounds from some of the escaped exhibits.

Guardians of the Galaxy composer Tyler Bates wrote original music for the attraction.

In the Collector's Warehouse there will be some interesting artwork, like a map showing where items came from, and a sign showing the number of items collected.

Cast Members will have new roles in the attraction. They are playing the part of working for the Tivan Group as greeters and VIP tour guides. But they know they are being watched all of the time and have to be very careful of what they say and do - and while they want to help Rocket free the Guardians they can't appear to be doing so. We had a first look at the costumes - inspired by the patterns and textures from the film.

From the Q&A:

There will be Fastpass, the length of the ride feels longer than Tower of Terror.

There is a new character original to the attraction.

Some cast members rode early on and a few changes were made based on their feedback.

When asked how the attraction fits into the theme of Disney California Adventure, the response, I believe from Danny Handke, was: "Bringing the Collector's Fortress to the edge of California Adventure was a way to welcome guests, welcome Terrans to take his VIP tour and see the Guardians on display. And it's also a mystery, you might have noticed an alien language throughout the facility, and there's some mystery elements here to decipher and give you clues of other reasons why the Collector is here as well."








April 6, 2017

2017 Disney California Food and Wine Festival - Sweet Sundays

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Disney California Food and Wine Festival

This year's Disney California Food and Wine Festival includes additional Premium Events that weren't a part of last year's Festival. One of them is Sweet Sundays, which was a part of the original Festival. I've attended these events at both Epcot and DCA's Food and Wine Festivals, and I was happy to see it return this year.

Sweet Sundays starts with a light breakfast and features a guest celebrity chef who demonstrates the preparation of several desserts. All guests receive their own desserts to sample. In past sessions I've learned several interesting techniques and ways to make some desserts even better.

The cost is $79/person plus tax and gratuity. There are three Sweet Sundays events this year, featuring Duff Goldman, Emily Ellyn, and Keegan Gerhard. We saw Emily Ellyn. I have to admit I'd never heard of her before. She's been on a number of Food Network shows, like "Food Network Star", "Cupcake Wars", and "Cutthroat Kitchen." She's known as the "Retro Rad Chef", and wears vintage clothing styles and trademark cat-eye glasses.

The events are held in the Festival Showplace - Stage 17 in Hollywood Land. It started at 10:30, and check-in was supposed to start at 9:45. But no one was there at that time. We wandered around a bit and went back about 10:00 and there was a short line. Unfortunately the check-in process was very slow - it took 20 minutes until we were seated. I had made the reservation and pre-paid so all the cast members had to do was verify my last name and then check our ids and give us a wristband. It doesn't seem like that should be a really slow process.

We were seated at a table rather than choosing our own seats. The event is fairly small - there were 15 tables, each seating 6 people. Half the tables were already full. Servers came around fairly quickly and offered us glasses of sparkling wine. There were carafes of orange juice and cranberry juice already on the table so that we could help ourselves. I was surprised that we were not offered coffee or tea. We later asked for coffee and tea, and eventually it was brought to us, but it was very difficult to get a refill. I wish that a beverage station had been available so that we could've gotten our own hot beverages.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

There was a basket of assorted pastries on the table for us serve ourselves.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

In past events there's been a breakfast buffet, but this year we had a "light breakfast" that was pre-plated and served to us at our tables. It definitely saved a lot of time to do it that way, but there wasn't the selection there has been in the past. We received scrambled eggs, bacon, and a potato cake. The scrambled eggs had some salmon in them, we think. I didn't think they were cooked quite enough, and they were too soft for me. The bacon wasn't crispy, and the potato cake was just ok. I was pretty disappointed in the breakfast.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Emily Ellyn came out while we were still eating. Rather than staying on stage and starting to cook she came out into the audience. She told us a lot about her background and her cooking philosophy - like taking tried and true recipes and make them your own. It was entertaining, but we were there for a cooking demonstration.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Finally she went up on stage and started working on the different parts of her desserts with the assistance of the host, who is a Disney chef. I was really not excited about her desserts at all. "Candied Fennel Upside-Down Cake served with Citrus Chocolate Pudding, Toasted Fennel Sesame Brittle and Orange Ash." Does that sound like dessert to you? I do not like fennel - I can't stand that licorice flavor. And as far as I'm concerned citrus and chocolate should NEVER be combined. Sigh.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Her presentation was enjoyable, but there wasn't a lot of substance to it. As I mentioned earlier, I usually learn something from these sessions - I really didn't learn much from this one. And these recipes are nothing that I will ever make. (Fennel desserts???? Did she think she was competing on Chopped?)

I will say that she's the first person that I've ever seen who engaged with the cameraman to make sure that something she wanted us to see was going up on the big screen - she was often talking to him as she showed things to him.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

The desserts themselves...I took a bite of the Citrus and Chocolate Pudding but couldn't eat it, and the Fennel Sesame Seed Brittle on top was just nasty.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

The Upside-Down Cake was not as bad as I thought - the cake itself was moist and didn't have any fennel flavor to it as long as I stayed away from the pieces of fennel that were on top. I still have no idea what the Orange Ash (the black stuff) was supposed to add - it simply tasted like ash.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

When she finished and we'd eaten our desserts she took a few questions. By then it was 12:00, and time to leave. They needed to get us out of there since they were going to have to completely re-set the area for the 2:00 Culinary Demonstration. Those use rows of long tables and not the round tables we had.

Ms. Ellyn was available afterward for photos, but we didn't wait in line for that.

While I was happy to see the return of Sweet Sundays, this one wasn't as good as those I have attended in the past. The desserts were really out there, and just not very appealing to me at all. I think this is the first one I've been to where the presenter was a "celebrity chef" rather than a recognized chef who is not necessarily famous. I would have preferred to see less personality and more demonstration of skill.

In contrast, here's the review I wrote about the last Sweet Sundays event I attended in 2010:

Sweet Sundays - 2010 Disney California Food and Wine Festival

I think that's more like it.

In other Food and Wine Festival news...we sampled some additional menu items from the various Festival Marketplaces, and also tried one of the full-size menu items at the Paradise Garden Grill Beer Garden.


As I did in my previous blog on the food items, I'm going to assign grades to each for Taste, Presentation, and Value. "Presentation" combines a number of factors such as creativity, interesting use of ingredients, and the way it looked. GIA denotes whether or not I would Get It Again.

From I (Heart) Artichokes: Creamy artichoke and dark chocolate cake pop. $4.25

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Taste: D
Presentation: B
Value: C
GIA: No way
Comments: When asked about Festival food items, this is one that almost everyone mentioned that they liked and that we should try. (The fact that Emily Ellyn raved about it should've warned me.) There was nothing "cakey" about this at all. The inside was a sort of firm artichoke mousse. I thought it was tasteless, but Lee said it tasted vaguely of artichoke, which he doesn't really like. Even the chocolate on the outside didn't have much flavor.

From Garlic Kissed: Grilled beef tenderloin slider with chimichurri sauce. $7.75

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Taste: A
Presentation: A-
Value: C-
GIA: Yes
Comments: Lee tried this and really liked it.


From Bacon Twist: Smoked bacon mac and cheese with barbecue-seasoned crispy onions. $7.50

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Taste: A-
Presentation: B+
Value: C+
GIA: Yes
Comments: Lee really enjoyed this. He's more of a mac and cheese fan than I am. I thought it was fine - I liked the crispy onions on top the best.

From Bacon Twist I also tried: Bloody Mary Cocktail with candied caramel bacon strip & blue cheese stuffed olives. $11.25

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Taste: A
Presentation: A
Value: C+
GIA: Yes
Comments: This was yummy. A little bit spicy, but not too much, and the bacon was very good. A reasonable amount of alcohol in it.

From Seafood...Sustained: Verlasso sustainable salmon tataki with avocado-wasabi puree and Furikake dust. $7.50

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Taste: D
Presentation: B
Value: C-
GIA: No
Comments: The salmon was completely tasteless.

From Off the Cob: Sweet corn nuggets with beef chili, spring onion and sour cream. $6.25

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Taste: A
Presentation: A
Value: C+
GIA: Yes
Comments: Lee described this as "a bite of awesomeness." I tried one of the corn nuggets and it was very good - a bit creamy inside with a nice fresh corn flavor.

From Sweet & Sourdough: Milk chocolate sourdough bread pudding with vanilla bean sauce. $4.50

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Taste: C
Presentation: A-
Value: C+
GIA: No
Comments: This was good bread pudding, but where was the chocolate? When the name starts with "Milk chocolate" I expected it to be chocolatey, but there were just a few small pieces.

From Paradise Garden Grill Beer Garden: Beer-braised pork tacos served with pickled apple slaw, black beans and queso. $10.99

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Taste: A-
Presentation: A-
Value: B
GIA: Yes
Comments: The tacos were quite tasty. The pickled apples on top had a nice vinegary zing. The items at Paradise Garden Grill are full-size dishes, and as such are a better value than those at the Marketplaces.

Still more misses than hits in this year's food items. I may get back to the Festival one more time before it closes on April 16 - though I think most of what I really want to try is either desserts or the full-size items at Paradise Garden Grill.







March 19, 2017

First Bites at the 2017 Disney California Food and Wine Festival

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Disney California Food and Wine Festival

The Disney California Food and Wine Festival runs from March 10 through April 16 this year. The schedule has been expanded this year with culinary demonstrations and wine, beer, and spirits tastings scheduled daily. A number of Premium events were also added, including Sweet Sundays (my favorite) and Winemaker and Brew Master dinners. There are new Festival Marketplaces and new entertainment offerings. With all of the new events the Festival has expanded into new locations around Paradise Bay and Hollywood Land such as Paradise Park and Paradise Gardens, The Vineyard Room, and Stage 17.

Jason already posted an overview of the Food and Wine Festival from opening day. I'm going to focus on some of the other things that I experienced on my first visit to the Festival, such as Marketplace items and demonstrations and tastings.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

I went to the Festival on Tuesday. Disney California Adventure seemed surprisingly crowded for a weekday, but apparently it's Spring Break for some schools. Despite the crowds in the park, the lines at the Marketplaces were short. I saw much longer lines at the quick service restaurants like Award Wieners and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta.

One of my complaints about last year's Festival, as well as the Festival of Holidays, is that I thought the food prices were too high. That really hasn't changed. Last year the most expensive food item was $8.00, and this year it's $7.75 - but there are several at that price. There are more items in the $5.50-$6.50 range this year, but desserts are all $4.25 and over, up from $3.50 at the low end last year. Returning items like the Lemon Macaron, Cheddar Cheese Soup, and Pork Belly Bao all went up $0.50.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

One of the things we really enjoyed about last year's Festival was the shaded arbors next to many of the food booths - and many of those returned this year as well. There were also some high tables, and a few with chairs.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

I tried a number of food items. As something a little different I'm going to assign grades to each, for Taste, Presentation, and Value. Though I'll warn you that nothing got an "A" for value. "Presentation" combines a number of factors such as creativity, interesting use of ingredients, and the way it looked. GIA denotes whether or not I would Get It Again.

From Nuts About Cheese: Baked ham and Swiss cheese croque monsieur roll with smoked pistachios. $7.00

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Taste: B
Presentation: A-
Value: D
GIA: No
Comments: Small serving size.

From I (Heart) Artichokes: Artichoke carbonara with garlic aioli and smoked bacon. $6.00

Disney California Food and Wine Festival
Taste: B Presentation: B Value: C GIA: Probably not Comments: This was surprisingly spicy (spicy hot).

From Garlic Kissed: Black garlic-soy braised pork belly bao with pickled vegetables. $7.00

Disney California Food and Wine Festival
Taste: A Presentation: A- Value: C- GIA: Yes Comments: Basically the same as one of last year's items - but $0.50 more this year. But it's really good - I'd eat the sauce with just the bun.

From Lemon Grove:
Roasted cauliflower and Meyer lemon-infused Dannon Oikos Greek nonfat yogurt cauliflower puree with sundried tomatoes and fried capers. $6.00

Disney California Food and Wine Festival
Taste: B Presentation: A- Value: C GIA: Maybe Comments: This dish was really interesting. It took them a while to prepare it because so much went on top - sundried tomatoes, fried capers, diced green onions.

Duck confit on potato smash with Meyer lemon preserves. $7.00

Disney California Food and Wine Festival
Taste: B- Presentation: B- Value: C- GIA: No Comments: The duck was a little dry. The green stuff on top - pickled asparagus, I think? - was tasty. The "smashed potatoes" were smashed tater tots.

From The Onion Lair: French onion mac and cheese topped with parmesan crumble and chives. $7.75

Disney California Food and Wine Festival
Taste: A- Presentation: B+ Value: C+ GIA: Yes Comments: The caramelized onions and parmesan crumble on top were delicious. It was a pretty good-sized serving, so it got a C+. :-)

From Off the Cob: Jackfruit carnitas banh mi nachos with cilantro crema and "pickled" de gallo. $6.75

Disney California Food and Wine Festival
Taste: D Presentation: A- Value: C GIA: No Comments: The "carnitas" are really made of jackfruit. But that gave them a weird texture and a really odd flavor that I found very unpleasant. But they still get an A- for presentation because it was a really interesting idea, and it looked good.

From Sweet & Sourdough: Bay shrimp Louie salad served in a mini Boudin sourdough boule. $6.75

Disney California Food and Wine Festival
Taste: A Presentation: A Value: B GIA: Yes Comments: This had a surprising number of shrimp in it, but there was too much dressing. It was very filling because of the bread bowl.

From LA Style: Chicken Teriyaki slider with spicy Dole pineapple jam. $6.50

Disney California Food and Wine Festival
Taste: B Presentation: B Value: C GIA: Probably not Comments: It had two pieces of chicken which were cooked well. I didn't care for the pineapple jam, which had red and green peppers in it, and was too sweet.

So...more misses than hits for me. I didn't get a chance to try any of the dessert items, though to be honest most of them did not appeal to me at all.

Festival Marketplace Menus

Annual Passholders can purchase a "Sip and Savor Pass". It's $45, and has 8 tabs that can be redeemed for any food or beverage item - excluding alcohol - at the Festival Marketplaces. I did the math - you want to use it for items costing more than $5.60. That still gives you a lot of choices, though.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Each Marketplace has a different AP button that you receive when you redeem one of the tabs there. I only have five of them so far. I think it's a decent value if you plan to purchase a lot of the $6.50-$7.75 items - it actually makes them more the price that I think they actually should be. :-)

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

There are several ways to find out about Festival events. Everything is listed on-line at disneyland.com/foodandwine. A few different brochures are available at the park. The Food and Wine Festival Guide has a map of the Festival Marketplaces and the other event locations as well as an overview of the events. There's a weekly single page Festival Schedule which provides details on the times and topics of the Culinary Demonstrations and Wine/Beer/Spirits tasting seminars in addition to information on the Premium events like "In the Kitchen With...", Sweet Sundays, and the Winemaker/Brewmaster dinners. The regular park Times guide lists the schedule for the Festival live entertainment like bands, the Jr. Chef program, and the Jammin' Chefs.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

I attended one of the winetasting sessions, which I had reserved in advance. These take place in the Sonoma Terrace area, as they have at previous festivals. It's a nice outdoor patio, mostly shaded by wooden patio cover. Check-in is at the entrance, by last name. The sessions are open to those age 21 and over only, and everyone is required to show id to get a wristband.

This presentation was by MacRostie Winery in Sonoma County. Most of these presentations include three wine tastings: we had two Chardonnays and a Pinot Noir. It was an interesting talk by the winemaker.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

This year the culinary demonstrations and beer/spirits tastings are being held in the Festival Showplace - Stage 17 in Hollywood Land. The culinary demonstrations are a pre-paid event this year where attendees receive samples - last year they were free, but no samples were available.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Inside there are two different seating areas - a larger one with a kitchen, and a smaller one for the beverage tastings. Check-in for events is at a table just inside the entrance. Upon checking in guests receive a paper ticket. The ticket is presented upon entering the line for the seating area.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Stage 17 is awfully dark...I prefer the outdoor locations they've had for these types of events in the past - particularly for the beverage tasting. The lighting was better over in the culinary demonstration area.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

I attended a culinary demonstration by one of the Disneyland candy makers. The topic was Barks and Clusters.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

The chef made the Sangria Bark, which is one of the offerings on sale at the Wineology Marketplace, and a chocolate cluster with hazelnuts and port wine-soaked cherries. The Sangria Bark was topped with fruits that had been soaked in sangria. We received samples of both of them. It was very interesting to watch a professional temper chocolate on the fly!

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Later I attended a beverage tasting by ACE Cider. That was really very interesting, and I learned a lot about the history of hard cider! It was the drink of choice during Colonial times in America, until immigrants from Germany and Austria introduced beer brewing.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

There's still availability for a lot of the wine/beer/spirit tasting sessions. They can be reserved on-line at disneyland.com/foodandwine. Monday-Thursday sessions are $15, plus tax and gratuity, and Friday-Sunday sessions are $20. Culinary demonstrations are $10 during the week and $15 on the weekend. Sessions can be reserved same day at the Festival Showplace if there is availability.

Also inside the Festival Showplace is a merchandise area - the same merchandise that is available at other locations around the park.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

There's also a wine bar. 1 oz, 2 oz, or 5 oz pours are available of the different wines. The process is somewhat unwieldy, though - you have to go to the register to make your purchase, then take it to the bar area to get the wine. And at this point there aren't any prices posted anywhere! So be careful, because some of them are quite expensive: up to $24 for a 5 oz pour!

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

I didn't try it, but one of the wines that really intrigued me is called Toad Hall. Somewhat more modestly priced - $57 for a bottle, and $15 for a 5 oz glass.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

One event that was part of previous Food and Wine Festivals, and is back this year is the Junior Chef program. This is a complimentary event for kids which takes place several times a day. Kids get to help Chef Goofy make oatmeal cookies, and at the end they get a sweet treat to take with them. The sessions take place outdoors in Paradise Park (though there are umbrellas to provide a little shade). It looks like they can accommodate about 30 kids per session, and each session takes about 20 minutes.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

Another activity for kids (and adults) is crafts. In front of Ariel's Undersea Adventure are several craft tables where guests can color their own chef hats.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival

I made the most of my first Festival day, and was able to get a pretty good overview of the available events. I'm looking forward to returning a few more times during the Festival's run.

Disney California Food and Wine Festival







March 14, 2017

Disneyland Resort Updates - 3/10/17 - Food and Wine Festival Opening Day

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, March 10, 2017.

Let us start off with a video overview of the Star Wars / Rivers of America Construction site.

A couple pictures of the Star Wars / Rivers of America construction this week (I have many more in my full picture set on my site). The large show building continues to grow as more steel is lifted into place. Notice the new structures on the ground.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

A closer look. Speculation on many sites is these are AT-AT structures.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Trees have been planted on the new berm since last week.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

The 2017 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival kicked off today and runs through April 16th.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

The festival followed the signage format from the Festival of Holidays.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Here is a representative marketplace. Each has the main items on the top under the sign as well as with a picture on the booth. The other side of the booth has some info about the topic/theme of the booth. There is also a visual menu with prices near the queue entrance and a smaller text menu at each register.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Here is the full list of menus, with prices:
     Festival Marketplace Menus

A look at one of the merchandise carts.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Another merchandise location in Paradise Pier.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Paradise Park features concerts five times a day. Today Tomasina was performing (you may remember them from Tomorrowland Terrace). Upcoming groups are SMITH and Phat Cat Swinger.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Paradise Park also hosts a Jr. Chef event three times a day. Cast Members are preparing for the next event.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Paradise Gardens is the Festival Beer Garden.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

To the right when you enter is a beer sales area this year.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

New tables in Paradise Gardens.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Bands perform a half dozen times a day on the Paradise Garden Bandstand. Today was the Mariachi Divas. Future groups are m-pact, Faultlines, Quattrosound, and Streetlight Cadence.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

There is an AP Corner near Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Annual Passholder buttons.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

An ad for AP Items.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

They also had leftover recipe cards from AP Days out.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

The Garden Grill has a special menu for the event.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Not related to the Food & Wine Festival but thought I would mention that the pizza at Boardwalk Pizza has changed crusts recently.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

New MaxPass poles and a digital wait time sign are installed at Toy Story now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Walls are down on the FastPass distribution area too. Still no date announced as to when this will be operational but it seems like it should be sooner rather than later now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

The Jr. Chef event was going on as I walked by. There was a Disney camera crew there. Between the umbrellas and the camera guy it was hard to get any decent pictures.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Goofy was the star of the show.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

A couple video clips from the Jr. Chef show.

The Jammin' Chefs perform in Paradise Pier and feature Chip and Dale.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Some video clips of the Jammin' Chefs performance.

A second set of Jammin' Chefs video this time with a wider lens.

Ghirardelli was passing out chocolate bunnies today.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017
The Backlot stage is hosting Lifestyle seminars. On the stage Kris Bonner was talking about tomatoes.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Stage 17 hosts the Festival Showcase.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Inside the showcase is a shopping area then two presentation spaces.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

A large area for Culinary Demonstrations (there is a cost to attend these)

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

There is a smaller venue set up for Beer & Spirits Education & Tasting Seminars (also a fee to attend).

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring flowers were in bloom in Paradise Park.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

A large crane is onsite and parked behind walls onstage. It is holding a banner when not in use.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Moving over to Disneyland and looking at the new trees that partially obstruct the parking structure now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

From Critter Country a look at the current state of the Rivers of America as it races toward a summer reopening.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto were working the crowd line. They were high fouring (fiving) guests and waving.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

Clsoed out my evening with Remember Dreams Come True.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 10, 2017

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








March 7, 2017

Disneyland Resort Updates - 3/3/17

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, March 3, 2017.

These pictures take a look at some of the ongoing projects as well as my regular assortment of random pictures. Laura will have a separate post on the Red Rose Taverne and AP Days Week 4.

Starting off the day at the Mickey and Friends parking structure with an overview of the Star Wars and Rivers of America Construction.

Looks like vents have been added to the top of the marina structure as the rocks on the park side continue to take shape.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Forms for the ground level of the circular part of the building are being constructed.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Steel continues to be erected for the large show building. Notice what appears to be a new floor taking shape on the left between the ground level and upper floor.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

A closer look at what looks to be a new floor taking shape.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

On the far side of the site more rock framing being installed and dirt being moved around.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Gaston and Belle were out in Fantasy Faire talking with guests.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Noticed these moisture monitors around a pine tree on the walkway to Frontierland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Approaching the construction at the end of the Big Thunder Trail. More color has been applied.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Here you can see the trestle has been painted brown (it was white when installed).

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Looking through the fence.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Some renovation work happening aboard the Mark Twain.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

No signs of a cover for the projector out on the island. Just the netting which is rolled up today.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

The Columbia was in the harbor today. More rigging has been set up.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

The bowsprit of the Columbia has been re-installed.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

As you enter Critter Country you can see the trestle is taking shape.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Looking through the fence. You can clearly see the river path as it makes it turn. The small posts on the right are the concrete pads the steel guide rail for the ships will go on.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Goofy strolling near the Carthay Circle Restaurant.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

The Food and Wine Festival kicks off next weekend. The Marketplaces were set up and had their name signs. No menu signage yet.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Over at the Guardians you can see a couple new elements sticking out the top. On the backside the tarps and scaffolding are coming down.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Mr. and Mrs. Incredible walking by the Hyperion.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Marketplaces line the parade route.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Poles for FastPass/MaxPass at the entrance to Toy Story.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Here you can see the wrap for the tower has been removed on the side.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

More marketplaces.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017


The Curlsurf shop opened a few weeks ago in Downtown Disney.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

On the bridge area there are some new tables and chairs.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

A little dark but you can see a line extending out the door for the Red Rose Taverne but not that bad compared to last week.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Over at Tomorrowland Terrace (or Galactic Grill) the lines were to the steps so just as busy as the Red Rose Taverne maybe more so.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Found a spot for the Main Street Electrical Parade.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Prior to the start of Remember Dreams Come True they made wind announcements but the show started on time. But then come the Indiana Jones segment it stopped.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 3, 2017

Here is the announcement that played when the lights came back on.

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








February 27, 2017

Disneyland Resort Updates - 2/24/17

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, February 24, 2017.

Prices have gone up at the Disneyland Resort since my last visit. Current parking rates.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

An overview of the Star Wars/Rivers of America construction site from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure.

A building is taking shape in the back corner.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

The round lower level portion of the large show building has reached ground level now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

The building has spanned the full width and height.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

Ticket prices went up since my last visit.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

The entrance to Star Tours is being reconfigured.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

The walls in the middle of the walkway are down. They removed the planter so now it is just a support column. This creates a little more space for strollers and/or walkway.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

This week the Country Bears are the featured characters for AP Days. Shaker and Big Al were out when I stopped by.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

Arts and crafts activities.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

They also had the button from last week available if you did not get one.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

Some barges out on the river now as they prepare to bring Fantasmic back this summer.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

The Columbia masts are back and rigging is being added.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017"

The concrete riverbed is being poured for the Rivers of America.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

Poles near the entrance for the Haunted Mansion are an indication that the rollout or at least testing of maxPass is coming.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

The Moana meet and greet has been removed...

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

The Red Rose Taverne officially opened today in Fantasyland. This temporary overlay of Beauty and the Beast to the Village Haus.

The line reached the sidewalk when I stopped by at 3:30. This was a little deceiving since they were holding the line inside and guiding people to registers with only one or two groups at each registered vs the normal lines at each. I was told it took about 10 minutes to get to order. The orders were taking a while though so total time was pushing 20-30 minutes from entering the queue till you were eating.

This was good compared to reports I read from over the weekend of wait times up to two hours.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

Inside props and new artwork have been added to change it from Pinocchio and his German Village Haus to Belle and France.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

Even the window glass was changed out.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

They were sold out of all desserts for the day already. Here is a look at the enchanted cauli-flower sandwich.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

Poutine flatbread

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

The other side of the restaurant Gaston helped to decorate. So it features antlers and of course a large picture of him.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

Antlers added to the chandeliers.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

Over at Disney California Adventure, the scaffolding and wrap have returned to fully cover the Guardians of the Galaxy Breakout Attraction with about three months to go until the May 27th opening.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

World of Color is not running for a couple weeks for annual refurbishment work. Two of the three platforms were raised to be worked on.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

Class of 2017 mouse ears are available throughout the resort.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

In New Orleans Square Mlle Antoinettes is closed for some work.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

The Red Rose cups are at Maurice's too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

Found a spot for the Main Street Electrical Parade to wrap up my visit with the parade then Remember Dreams Come True Fireworks.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 24, 2017

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








February 13, 2017

Disneyland Resort Updates - 2/10/17

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, February 10, 2017.

Laura wrote a blog featuring the Beauty and the Beast Preview as well as AP Days 2017, so I am going to focus on some of projects around the resort.

A video clip overview of the Star Wars Construction site (note the second half is really shaky since I was shooting freehand with a telephoto lens...)

The site from the Mickey and Friends parking structure on this cloudy afternoon.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017


Work continues along the top of the berm as they prepare it for the next step.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

The hill between the two entrance tunnels has been sprayed, assuming to help hold the dirt in place with all the rain we have been having.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

On the far north side of the project it appears they are working on footers and the foundation for another building. Even with the looming rain they were pouring concrete today.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

Construction has gone vertical for Star Wars. The very large show building nearest the parking structure has steel going up now.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

A rock formation taking shape along the Rivers of America.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

Trees have been planted on the new berm between where the train will run and Star Wars.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

First park today, Disneyland. Big Thunder has received a new entrance structure, that building we saw near the Rivers of America was moved here once completed. The Stand By Entrance is here and the FastPass on the left side of the building.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

Moving over to Critter Country, the rocks along the back of the Rivers of America

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

Down in the riverbed they have started to install the footers that will support the track the boats run on.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

The former Royal Reception location in Fantasyland is now a Beauty and the Beast shop.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

The Matterhorn is closed for annual renovation work and the installation of FastPass.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

"it's a small world" has a new entrance and wait time sign.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

A quick video clip of it in action.

Moving over to Disney California Adventure, the new color scheme and exterior for Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! is being unveiled.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

A closer look.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

From the Monorail a look at the former House of Blues future Splitsville project.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017


The Grand Californain is undergoing a major renovation. In the lobby are some displays taking a look at the new rooms including sample material and pictures.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

The new room look.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

A closer look at the materials used.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

The hallway carpet and how it will be laid out.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

The Curl Surf Shop in Downtown Disney looks ready to open any day now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

The rains showed up as the sun set, Main Street USA around 6pm

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

Passing by Sleeping Beauty Castle...
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017


A quick video clip of the Hatbox Ghost.

A final look at Main Street USA before leaving, it was 9:30pm.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, February 10, 2017

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







February 12, 2017

AP Days at Disneyland and Beauty and the Beast Sneak Peek

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A couple of new limited time events started at Disneyland on Friday, February 10. So I decided to make a quick trip to Disneyland to check them out.

A sneak peek of the upcoming "Beauty and the Beast" movie is showing in the Sunset Showcase Theater in Disney California Adventure. The movie opens on March 17, so the preview will probably run through March 19th.

Beauty and the Beast Sneak Peek

Lots of movie artwork along the entrance to the theater.

Beauty and the Beast Sneak Peek

The entry and lobby area of the theater have been redesigned - all traces of Arendelle have been removed, and now it looks more like a generic theater.

In the lobby are two display cases with props from the movie. This one has Belle's "town" dress and the "Magic Atlas."

Beauty and the Beast Sneak Peek

The other has the rose and the "Enchanted Mirror."

Beauty and the Beast Sneak Peek

The preview is in 3D and is about 10 minutes long. It features the entire opening "Belle" song with the townspeople and Gaston followed by a short trailer. (Josh Gad is excellent as Lefou.) While you're waiting for the preview to start, take a look at the "Enchanted Mirrors" on both sides of the theaters above the entrance and exit doors. You'll see some familiar characters.

I really enjoyed it - I'm looking forward to seeing the movie.

Beauty and the Beast Sneak Peek

Also at DCA...work on the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT continues - part of the facade was visible. I thought it looked better than I was expecting.

Tower of Terror Mission Breakout

In the Paradise Pier area there are construction walls up along the bay in front of the Carousel - this would seem to be the logical location for the new Fastpass kiosks for Toy Story Midway Mania. No word on when those Fastpasses will be available.

Toy Story Mania Fastpass

Over at Disneyland, AP Days, a celebration for Annual Passholders, runs through March 9. This time it has a Main Street Electrical Parade theme.

Disneyland AP Days

The Welcome Center is in the Starcade in Tomorrowland.

Disneyland AP Days

There was a pretty long line to get in when I was there - they had a queue set up in front of Path of the Jedi.

Disneyland AP Days

Each Friday there's a new button. Cast members were scanning passes (one button per pass) outside the Welcome Center, so there was no need to wait in line to get the button.

Disneyland AP Days

There's an AP Adventures brochure that has some additional information. Inside there is information on the Electrical Parade and some trivia questions.

Disneyland AP Days

There's additional information on the back - including an announcement for the next AP event, which will be at DCA during the Food and Wine Festival from March 10-April 16.

Disneyland AP Days

Once inside the Welcome Center, I would recommend that you first find the cast members who are distributing tickets (basically a Fastpass) for the character greeting area. They were not letting people simply line up for the characters - everyone needed a ticket. You can leave the Welcome Center while you're waiting for your return time - once you're inside your window you can show your ticket at the door so you don't need to wait in line again to enter.

Disneyland AP Days

The characters are "retro" characters. For this week there were Robin Hood and Friar Tuck.

Disneyland AP Days

Alternating with the Sheriff of Nottingham and Prince John.

Disneyland AP Days

Just inside the entrance is a special photo backdrop with a PhotoPass photographer.

Disneyland AP Days

Also as you enter are the retro video games: Donkey Kong Jr., Missile Command, PacMan, and Asteroids.

Disneyland AP Days

The token machine is next to the - authentic STARCADE tokens. These looked brand new.

Disneyland AP Days

Special AP merchandise is available in the Welcome Center - it's also available in Disney Showcase on Main Street. There were wine glasses, pins, lanyard, hat, and tumbler.

Disneyland AP Days

Also shirts. Here's the back of the men's version (you can see the front logo on the left of the photo above).

Disneyland AP Days

This is the women's shirt.

Disneyland AP Days

There's a lounge area with comfortable-looking sofas and chairs.

Disneyland AP Days

With a charging station.

Disneyland AP Days

Some artwork outside the lounge area.

Disneyland AP Days

There are a couple of different activities in the "Activities and Fun" area.

Disneyland AP Days

You can color your own MSEP pennant:

Disneyland AP Days

Or you can build your own parade - this card has perforations to separate each photo. And then there were pieces of ribbon available to tie them together.

Disneyland AP Days

During AP Days, recipe cards, a new one each week, will be available at several locations in Disneyland. The same card is available at each restaurant. You have to ask for the cards. Participating locations are Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe, Redd Rockett's Pizza Port, Gibson Girl, and Main Street Refreshment Corner.

AP Days Oscar's Potatoes recipe

Another part of AP Days is daily screenings in the Opera House at 5:00, 6:30, and 8:00 p.m. Wristbands are distributed at the Opera House entrance earlier in the day, until they are all gone.

Disneyland AP Days

I didn't see it, but Jason did, and said it was the Disney Channel Backstage Disney show on the Main Street Electrical parade from 1986.

Disneyland AP Days

A special offer for Passholders at the moment is a refillable popcorn bucket. It's $15 for the initial purchase (which includes popcorn), After that, you can get refills for $1 (you also must present your AP) through April 16. There's a DCA version of the popcorn bucket, also. I was required to show both my AP and my id to purchase it.

Disneyland AP Popcorn Bucket

There are also supposed to be special menu items available at a few quick service restaurants, but I was not successful in my attempt to order the Fried Chicken and Waffles that are supposed to be at the Plaza Inn. The cast member seemed to have no idea what I was talking about.

There are many other Main Street Electrical Parade-inspired treats that are not secret and are easier to find. Many of them are at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe. I tried the PB&J Eclair. Which yes, was an eclair filled with a soft peanut butter filling and a layer of strawberry jam. I thought it was just ok.

Special Electrical Parade treats

I also tried the Cheshire Cat Shortbread Cookie. Also with a strawberry jam filling. This was better - though I think I would've preferred the shortbread without the filling. The filling made it soft, and I like shortbread to have a little bit of crunch.

Special Electrical Parade treats

Also available at the Bakery are a Pineapple Coconut Parfait and Ladybug Macarons. The Raspberry Drum Cake that I'd seen at the preview is at River Belle Terrace. There's a Hazelnut Tart at the Market House (I'll have to try that one), Fantasia Mousse Cake (shaped like a turtle) at Blue Bayou, and Fantasia Ice Cream at Gibson Girl. I've never understood the attraction of the ice cream - the combination of pistachio, cherry, and banana does not appeal to me at all.

At the Plaza Inn there's a colorful "puzzle" cake.

Disneyland AP Days

With Valentine's Day and Beauty and the Beast coming up, various treats are available around the resort. At Trolley Treats in DCA I saw these Minnie Mouse and Belle cupcakes:

Disneyland Valentine Treats

Also these heart cookies:

Disneyland Valentine cookies

And at the Candy Palace in Disneyland there were rose and pink frosted cake pops as well as pink frosted krispy treats.

Disneyland Valentine treats

The specialty caramel apple of the month is covered with dark chocolate, cherries, and nuts.

February Disneyland Specialty Apple

Special cherry vanilla swirl cotton candy is available at a few locations. I only saw it on Main Street.

Disneyland Valentine Cotton Candy

Jason will have a much more complete construction update, but I took a few photos from the construction wall area near Big Thunder Mountain. There's some rock work visible now.

Disneyland Star Wars Land

Bob Iger announced earlier this week during the Walt Disney Company Q1 FY17 Earnings call that Star Wars Lands at both Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios will open in 2019. So I guess we still have two years to wait.

Disneyland Star Wars Land

As I mentioned, look for Jason's update in the next couple of days - he has more construction photos, the new entrance to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Grand Californian refurbishment updates, etc.,







January 10, 2017

Three Kings' Day at Disneyland

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Three Kings Day

For a number of years Disneyland has celebrated Three Kings' Day - El Dia de los Reyes Magos. January 6 (Epiphany) is the official day, but this year the events took place January 5-8.

Three Kings' Day celebrates the visit of the kings to the Christ child on the 12th day after his birth. Traditionally it's three kings: Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrrh.

The Paradise Gardens area of Disney California Adventure was the site of this year's events.

Three Kings Day

There were several displays set up. On the night before children traditionally place their shoes out for the kings to fill with toys and gifts.

Three Kings Day

"Rosca de Reyes", or "King's Cake" is a traditional food. It's a sweet bread, round like a crown, and decorated with candied fruits, which resemble jewels.

Three Kings Day

One of the activities was face painting. No charge, and it was available to adults and kids.

Three Kings Day

There was also a craft area. Guests could color paper lanterns or decorate a crown with stickers. There were a number of tables and chairs there.

Three Kings Day

Three Kings Storytelling took place several times each day on the Paradise Gardens stage. This was different than what I expected, but I thought it was well done. I thought it would be more like the Epcot storytellers, with someone acting the part. Instead it was two musicians, who both spoke and sang about holiday traditions such as Las Posadas, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, and Three King's Day.

Three Kings Day

Here's a video of the entire performance.

A few other things I noticed while wandering around the parks...

I'd never gotten a very good look at Skylar on Princess Elena's float. He is a magical talking jaquin.

Skylar Princess Elena

Since Santa Claus is taking a well-deserved vacation, Santa Goofy was greeting guests in the Redwood Creek "Holiday Visit" area.

Santa Goofy

In that same area one of the deer sported a Santa hat.

Three Kings Day

The Tower of Terror closed on January 2 and is under wraps during the conversion to Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT.

Tower of Terror


Tower of Terror

Over at Disneyland, Pocahontas was greeting guests along the Rivers of America near the exit to Big Thunder Mountain.

Pocahontas

In honor of the Moana movie, several locations in Disneyland are offering a special Pineapple Parfait dessert. It's pineapple, cake, and custard. The necklace is also edible. I tried it and thought it was pretty good.

Pineapple parfait




November 15, 2016

New Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

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Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

Disney California Adventure gets a holiday makeover this year with the presentation of the first Festival of Holidays at the park. The Festival celebrates holiday traditions around the world with food, beverages, and entertainment. Princess Elena of Avalor makes her Disneyland debut in Princess Elena's Musical Grand Arrival. The popular ¡Viva Navidad! street party also returns to Paradise Pier along with special food offerings and a character meet and greet.

Also new for the holiday season is World of Color - Season of Light. The show combines water, animations, projections and laser effects choreographed to both classic and contemporary holiday music. Selections range from Nat King Cole performing "The Christmas Song" to "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" by Pentatonix.

World of Color - Season of Light

Santa Claus has moved to the Redwood Creek area this year - his greeting spot is tucked away in the Ahwahnee Circle. The elves have been busy setting up Elf Games for guests, such as the "Jingle Bridge" and the "Pack the Presents" slide.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

Our weekend visit to DCA was much too short for us to experience everything that the park has to offer now. We concentrated on the Festival of Holidays - more specifically some of the fourteen Festive Food Marketplaces.

This aspect of the Festival is a food and wine festival - and there are even more marketplace booths (14) than there were for the return of the Food and Wine Festival to DCA earlier this year. The holiday booths also have much more of an international flair, with offerings inspired by Asian, Mexican, Jewish, Indian, Middle Eastern, German, and Swedish traditions as well as American favorites like sliders, Southern specialties and the classic turkey dinner. There's even a "Treats for Santa" booth with cookies and cookie decorating, peppermint bark, fudge, and panettone.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

All of the booths have special beverage offerings, also. There are booths dedicated to both beer (Brews and Bites) and wines (Making Spirits Bright) which offer flights or selections by the glass. Other choices include holiday eggnog cocktail, pomegranate margarita, iced mint tea, cranberry sweet tea, and chocolate beverages such as pumpkin spice hot chocolate, white hot chocolate, and frozen chocolate milk.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

Our first taste of the Festival was Friday night - it opened on Thursday. We were surprised that the food lines were short/non-existent. Very different than the opening weekend of the Food and Wine Festival back in April. The only real lines were at the beer and wine booths.

First Lee tried the Brisket Potato Croquette with horseradish cream from Nosh and Nibbles for $7.50. He said it was very good.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

Next we went to Good Fortune's Feast and tried two items. First the Adobo Pork Bao, $8.00. It was excellent, though I thought it a little heavy on the pickled onions. I didn't taste much "adobo" in it, though.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

The Smoked Duck and Vegetable Spring Roll with cabbage and sweet plum sauce was really good! But at $8.75 it was very expensive for the serving size.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

We were at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival the week before, and I think we understand why the lines at the booths were so short. The prices for food booth items in California are significantly higher than those in Florida - where most Florida items are in the $5-$7 range, most of the California items are $7-$9.

At Spice Salutations we sampled the Carrot and Chickpea Fritters for $6.25. They were served with a coriander almond sauce, but they really didn't have very much flavor.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

We also tried the Chicken and Potato Curry, with kefir cream and grilled naan for $6.50. This was a more generous serving than anything else we'd tried, and it was very tasty. The curry was not too spicy. And the naan was good.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

Lee sampled the Holiday Bright Seasonal Beer Flight from Brews & Bites. Spaten Brewery Oktoberfest from Germany, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Celebration, 21st Amendment Brewing Fireside Chat, and Karl Strauss Seven Sharks A-Circling. He wasn't wild about any of them.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

From Winter Sliderland we tried a Roasted Turkey Slider. It was expensive - $8.00. The turkey was nice carved slices, and it also had dressing, gravy, and cranberry sauce. It was very good, but it's not that much different than Earl of Sandwich's Holiday Turkey, which is twice the size for less money.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

We also tried the Kalua Pork Slider. $7.50 for this one. Pieces of nice roasted pork topped with pineapple jam and cider slaw. I liked this one better than the one that they have at Epcot.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

By then we were ready for some dessert at the appropriately named Yuletide Yummies. We chose the Gingerbread Bundt Cake, but requested that they leave the orange-vanilla sauce off of it. It was a dense gingerbread but very flavorful and we both liked it a lot. It was served cold but I think it would have been better served warm. For $4.25 I thought it was a decent-sized serving.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

We also tried the Mocha Yule Log for $4.75. This one definitely gets the award for the prettiest dessert! It was really nicely decorated. And it was also a generous serving. Lee didn't care for the cream, but the cake was good. I mostly liked it, but it was a little too sweet. We couldn't finish it, and ended up taking half of it back to the room with us.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

One word of advice - you'll need to get a knife to cut both of these - they are too dense for a fork by itself.

For the Food and Wine Festival the booths were set up on the parade route between Carthay Circle and the Pacific Wharf. But with the additional six booths they extend all the way to the Golden Zephyr, with one booth location next to Grizzly River Run near the restrooms.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

The Yuletide Yummies booth was in front of Ariel's attraction, and there were some metal tables - some of them with chairs - set up next to it. It was a very nice spot to sit and enjoy some of the entertainment that takes place in Paradise Park. We heard parts of performances from the Mariachi Divas and the Blue13 Dance Company.

The Food and Wine Festival had covered "arbors" with bar-type counters so people could stand and eat. Those aren't out - instead there are the typical round black metal standing tables like we see at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival, along with a few lower tables and chairs. There seemed to be more low tables than there were chairs to go with them. It didn't seem to me as though the tables offered as much space for people to eat as the arbors did.

Saturday evening we went back to try more of the food offerings. The park was pretty busy, so I was expecting longer lines at the food booths, but that was not the case. We asked cast members if it had been busy that day and they said not really. I definitely think the prices are an issue. Just across the parade route from a couple of the food booths is a hot dog cart where you can get a hot dog and chips for $7.00 - more food than you'll get at the neighboring booths.

From Abuelita's Kitchen we sampled the Chicken and Cilantro Tamale with roasted tomatillo salsa. That was quite good. $7.50 for it.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

Lee also tried the Chorizo Bean Sope with Cotija cheese and crema for $7.00. He enjoyed that, too.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

Back at Yuletide Yummies again I had the Mini Turkey Pot Pie with cranberry drizzle for $8.00. I was disappointed that it was mostly crust. It was a nice flaky crust, but there was way more of that than there was the turkey and vegetable filling. Not worth $8.00.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

Lee wanted to try their Joyful Flavors Beer Flight, but they were out of one of the beers (and of course the one they were out of, Rogue Ales Hazelnut Brown Nectar, was the one that he really wanted to try). And rather than substitute the cast member said they weren't allowed to sell the flight at all. We though that was odd - they substitute at Epcot all the time.

From Fiesta en Familia we tried the two pozole dishes. The Green Chile Pozole was a vegetarian dish, and was $6.25. It was very good and we both enjoyed it.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

The Red Chile Pozole contained tender chunks of pork and was $6.75. It was also very good. Both pozoles had quite different flavors - it was interesting to taste what a difference red versus green made. I wish they had been more generous servings or that the price had been $2 less.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

Lee tried the Southern Mac and Cheese from Southern Home Holidays for $7.50. It was topped with jalapeno cornbread crumbles - he said it needed more of that. He liked it. I had a taste but thought it was just ok - I'm not much of a mac and cheese fan, though.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

From Winter Sliderland we got another Kalua Pork Slider, which was much more generous with the pork than the first one.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

This time we also tried the Praline & Bourbon Whoopie Pie for $4.25. The whoopie pie was bigger than I expected and had a pretty good flavor - lots of cream inside.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

We made pretty good progress in sampling the food offerings, though there were still five of the booths we never got to. Still, I think we sampled almost everything that really sounded good to us. In addition to the food booths, there are full-size seasonal offerings at Paradise Garden Grill: Torta al Pastor, Street-Style Tacos, and Chicken Mole. I like chicken mole, so maybe next time.

There is entertainment going on at multiple locations during the Festival of Holidays. In addition to Paradise Park, there's also groups performing at Paradise Gardens, Pacific Wharf, and Sonoma Terrace. The latter was a surprise to me, but we heard part of a performance by Raise, an R&B a cappella group, and they were very good.

There's several entertainment offerings that we did not get a chance to experience - like Princess Elena's Musical Grand Arrival. There's also the Stilt Circus, and the Holiday Toy Drummers. The latter sounded like they might be a lot of fun to watch.

There's also some craft tables - the one we stopped by had Diwali paper lanterns that you could make. Diwali is the Eastern Festival of Lights.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

In the Festival areas there was really interesting music playing - it was modern and upbeat arrangements of songs for celebrations like Hanukkah. The loop was too short, though - we heard the same songs multiple times.

We found a cart that had some Festival of Holidays merchandise. Not much of a selection - there were t-shirts, including one specifically for Annual Passholders, and hats.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

I was disappointed in the designs. All of the food booths and parade route banners had the Mickey-head logo below, which I really liked! I would've bought something with that logo on it.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

I'm sure the main idea behind the Festival of Holidays is to pull guests from Disneyland to Disney California Adventure - and especially to convince guests to buy a one day ticket to DCA rather than Disneyland. We were in Disneyland on Saturday and it was very busy. DCA was less busy, but to me it still felt busier than it would on a typical Saturday. The standby line for Soarin' was longer than I've seen it for a long time. While the marketplaces were not particularly busy (except those that specialized in alcohol), there still seemed to be a lot of people enjoying the other holiday offerings in the park.

We enjoyed the parts of Festival of Holidays that we experienced - I would like to see more of the entertainment. My only real complaint is the prices at the Festival Marketplaces - I think they are just too high.








November 8, 2016

Disneyland Resort Updates - 11/4/16

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos and video clips from his latest trip to the parks on Friday, November 4, 2016.

A video overview of the Star Wars construction site from the Mickey and Friends parking structure.

An overview of the site.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016
Footers are in for the wall to the left of the Fantasyland entrance tunnel.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

The Fantasmic! marina looks to be enclosed now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

The new path from Critter Country to Star Wars is slowly taking shape. Dirt has been removed from behind the large retaining wall behind Critter Country.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Footers for the foundation of the show building are also taking shape.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Moving on to the Tram stop work: The closest section of the Pinocchio lot is now fenced off and equipment looks ready to start. Also, the crosswalk has been moved closer to the structure right now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

A closer look at the removed hedges and security barriers:

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

World of Color Season of Light billboards are at the tram stop now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Halloween was still present on the tram route.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Over the entrance gates, though, Halloween is gone, but Christmas has yet to arrive.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Christmas has arrived at the Train Station, note that there's no train out front this week. The traditional Christmas decorations are up on the Train Station.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Town Square is looking festive.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

The tree has yet to be installed.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Snow has fallen on Sleeping Beauty Castle. Nice to see it back this year.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

A look around the hub:

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

The Partners Statue with Sleeping Beauty Castle

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Frontierland has been decorated, too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Approaching the end of the Big Thunder Trail... The rockwork is taking shape along the trail.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

New Orleans Square has been decorated.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Critter Country decorations are up, too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Taking a look at the Star Wars work from Critter Country, it looks like the first trestle is taking shape as well as "toothpicks" for the rockwork support structure.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Winnie the Pooh was out near what will be Santa's meet-and-greet in a week.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

The trestle over Critter Country is under wraps and looks like it is being rebuilt/renovated.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Scaffolding in Toontown has moved to the Five and Dime.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

The Toons have decorated already. The fire truck is back and looks good as new.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Mickey's House:

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016


"it's a small world" is closed while the holiday show is being installed. It reopens November 10.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Hyperspace Mountain has returned.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

The Dapper Dans performing on Main Street USA:

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Next stop, Disney California Adventure! Buena Vista Street is partially decorated. No tree yet and the window displays are not done.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Disney Festival of Holidays is taking over DCA starting Thursday, November 10.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

The marketplaces that were used in the Food and Wine Festival have returned.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Menus are not posted yet, just names for the locations (I have pictures of all of them in my full set if you wanted to see them)

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Work continues in the Hollywood Studios area:

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Scaffolding continues to go up on the Tower of Terror. There was a posted wait time of 90 minutes this afternoon.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

A side view of the Tower of Terror. Looks like scaffolding is up on three of the four sides so far. Just this side to go:

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Cars Land holiday decorations are almost all up, too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Paradise Park is ready for the new World of Color show, Season of Light, which starts this Thursday. The fountains were warming up for the regular show this evening.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

There are actually more marketplaces for the holiday than the Food and Wine event had. Here is one in front of the Little Mermaid.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

A couple more marketplaces near the Zephyr.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

New boxes/barges with equipment are out in Paradise Bay for the new World of Color show.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

There's been a tweak to the Toy Story queue -- a new entrance point. Rumor is that FastPass is coming to this attraction. If that's true, this change to the queue to accommodate it makes sense.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

A small stage set up in the Wharf area:

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

And another marketplace near Grizzly Rapids Run.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Santa will be in Redwood Creek this year.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Back in Disneyland park, Frontierland lights were on this evening.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

I found a spot under the lights on Main Street for Soundsational.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Noted a few things on my way out of the parks.

Tupua performing in Downtown Disney tonight.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Route 66 after dark.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

A lot of activity going on in the Pinocchio lot this evening. They were removing the asphalt and other debris from near the parking structure.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

They are enlarging an opening into the Mickey and Friends parking structure on the first floor.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

And finally, the Fantasy in the Sky finale from the structure.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, November 4, 2016

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


October 24, 2016

Disneyland Resort Updates - 10/21/16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New landscaping is going in along the tram way.

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

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

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

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

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

The Disney Showcase has switched over to Christmas merchandise now.

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

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

There was one rack of Halloween left.

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


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


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

The hub trees have received their Christmas lights.

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

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

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

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

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

No real visible progress on the Columbia.

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

Main Street USA at 2:34pm.

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

The facade work on Peter Pan has wrapped up.

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

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

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

The scaffolding is down from Roger Rabbit.

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

Work has moved up the block now.

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

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

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

The Nemo seagulls were MIA today.

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

Mickey leading Soundsational through the hub.

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

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

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

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

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

Time for the Flag Retreat.

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

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

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

Doctor Strange has moved into the Sunset Showcase Theater.

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

A narrow path by Monsters right now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bugs have decorated for Christmas already.

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

The Moana sneak peek has moved into the Bugs Theater.

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

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

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

Work has wrapped up on the Rushin River Outfitters.

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

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

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

Some stats/info on the display.

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

A closer look at the display.

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

Walked through Downtown Disney. Something Silver is behind walls.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Work continues on the new store near Jamba Juice.

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

The World of Disney entrance near Starbucks is under wraps.

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

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

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

Several video clips of the Scareolers performing.

Tower of Terror, a sign for the Late Check Out

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

Wait times were up this evening.

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

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

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

A selection of Moana merchandise in Elias and Company.

Here are a couple items.

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


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

Crews working into the night on the Star Wars project.

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

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







September 14, 2016

Halloween Time Returns to the Disneyland Resort

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Halloween Time

Halloween Time is one of my favorite times of year at Disneyland...I might like it even better than the holidays.

But like the holidays, it seems to start earlier every year - this year it began on September 9 - just four days after Labor Day! It runs through October 31. I was there on opening day - Friday, September 9.

At the Mickey and Friends tram stop, I was a little surprised that the large signs there advertise the Tower of Terror closure and not Halloween Time.

Halloween Time

This Halloween display along the tram route is always fun to see. There's a second and longer part on the other side, but I was on the wrong side of the tram to get a photo of it.

Halloween Time

The large character pumpkins above the entrance turnstiles were back.

Halloween Time

The Mickey floral and the train station are no longer decorated for the 60th anniversary.

Halloween Time

The Mickey pumpkin has returned to Town Square.

Halloween Time

Halloween Time

The Main Street Pumpkin Festival includes lots of jack-o-lanterns peeking out from the buildings on Main Street.

Halloween Time

The candy shop has a number of Halloween-themed treats, like Mickey jack-o-lantern krispie treats, Maleficent krispie treats, skull caramel apples, and these Dia de los Muertos krispie treats.

Halloween Time

The new map and Times Guide. That night was the first showing of the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks show, which has returned now that Disneyland Forever ended along with the Diamond Celebration. Fantasy in the Sky will run (probably on weekends only) until the Holiday celebration kicks off on November 10 and Believe...in Holiday Magic returns.

Halloween Time maps

Speaking of the Diamond Celebration...an unadorned castle. It looks rather plain.

Sleeping Beauty Castle

I was there at park opening, so I hustled over to Tomorrowland to get a Fastpass for Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. Hyperspace Mountain seems to be the only piece of the "limited time offerings" of Season of the Force that is no longer around - Path of the Jedi and the Galactic Grill are still there.

Star Wars Launch Bay

I was surprised to see that most of the photo ops from the 60th anniversary celebration are still in place.

Matterhorn photo op

The jack-o-lanterns themed to each land surround the Walt and Mickey Partners statue in the Hub.

Halloween Time

The Vampire Mickey popcorn bucket has been "re-vamped" this year. :-)

Halloween Vampire Mickey popcorn bucket

There's a new Halloween-themed bucket, also, with Disney characters drawn in the older style. (I think Daisy looks pretty creepy, personally.)

Halloween Disneyland popcorn bucket

Haunted Mansion Holiday opened for the season, and many of us were eager to see how Jack had "decked the halls" this year. The standby line was posted as 40 minutes, but it was less than 20.

Halloween Time Haunted Mansion Holiday

Haunted Mansion Holiday

The advances in projection technology have certainly changed the look of a lot of things in the mansion over the years, starting with the Stretch Room. It's always fun to see what happens when two holidays collide...

Haunted Mansion Holiday

The loading area:

Haunted Mansion Holiday

This year's Gingerbread House in the ballroom. I was fortunate to have a brief stop almost right in front of the house.

Haunted Mansion Holiday

New this year: a life-size audio-animatronic figure of Sally was added to the graveyard scene. Her eyes blink as she gazes across at Jack Skellington and she kicks her foot up and down.

Haunted Mansion  Holiday Sally

After exiting Haunted Mansion I was in my Ghost Galaxy Fastpass window so I got a Fastpass for Haunted Mansion Holiday, figuring the line would be longer later. I wandered back to Tomorrowland by way of the Mint Julep Bar, thinking maybe I'd get some beignets. But to my dismay this year there are no pumpkin beignets! The special this year is regular beignets sprinkled with butterscotch sugar. Not very appealing to me.

I also went through Frontierland and the Dia de los Muertos display outside Rancho del Zocalo. It seems the same as previous years. There's a face painting (free) station set up there.

Halloween Time

Halloween Time

The entrance to the Rancho del Zocalo restaurant is also decorated.

Halloween Time Ghost Galaxy

Lots of Halloween merchandise available - here's just a few samples.

Halloween Time merchandise

Halloween Time merchandise

I used my Fastpass for Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. I didn't notice anything new about it this year, and I found it not nearly as exciting and immersive as Hyperspace Mountain. I hope that will return...

Halloween Time Ghost Galaxy

In Town Square some of the characters were out in their Halloween costumes. They always seem to have the same costumes every year - don't they get tired of them? :-)

Halloween Time Vampire Mickey

Halloween Time witch Minnie

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is offering a Halloween Minnie makeover for the season.

Halloween Minnie Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

The entrance to Toontown has some Halloween decorations.

Halloween Time

New maps and Times Guide in Disney California Adventure. The classic World of Color show has returned to replace the Celebrate! version.

DCA map

AP Days, a special event for Annual Passholders, has begun, and will run through October 31.

AP Days

There are activities for Annual Passholders in two different areas of the park. In Hollywood Land, the AP Days Showcase is at Studio 12 (which was the Tron arcade).

AP Days

Outside were a few tables where kids (or adults) could color some Halloween-themed drawings. Inside was a special character meet and greet.

AP Days

This area looks like it recycled a lot of props and decor from the Scare-dy Crow shack at the former Big Thunder Ranch area.

AP Days

AP Days

There's a different AP button each week - they change on Mondays. My AP was scanned when they gave me a button, so it seems like they are limiting the buttons to one per passholder. They also gave me a small bottle of water.

AP Days

There were some benches outside a small demonstration kitchen - apparently there are food demonstrations that take place a couple of times a day. I wasn't around for any of that, though. The displays outside have descriptions of some of the seasonal food offerings around the resort.

AP Days

One of them is a seasonal smoothie at Schmoozies - a caramel apple smoothie. I tried it. It has apple pureed in it, and a hint of cinnamon. But most of what I tasted was sweet - too sweet for me.

Caramel apple smoothie

The second location for AP Days is in the Paradise Gardens area. Mainly an AP Days photo opportunity.

AP Days

There was a scavenger hunt-type of activity available. I don't know if the activity changes each week, but this week it was solving a word phrase. The letter clues asked questions about which was more or less, e.g. "Which is MORE? The number of gas pumps at Flo's V8 Cafe or the number of animal spirits within the Spirit Cave at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail?" There's a different letter choice for each answer. No prize for solving it - just the satisfaction.

AP Days

There are several special things going on at the Tower of Terror during its final Halloween season. The Silver Lake Sisters - also known as Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical (they own the cafe on Buena Vista Street) perform throughout the day in the lobby. Unfortunately you have to actually be in line to see them. I thought that was odd. At night there's Late Check Out, where the Tower of Terror ride takes place in total darkness. I didn't stay late enough to try that. There's also special merchandise available in the shop.

Outside the Tower is a new PhotoPass location with a few props.

Tower of Terror photo op

Trader Sam's at the Disneyland Hotel also has a seasonal item - a drink called "This Chilling Challenge" available with a souvenir Hitchhiking Ghosts Tiki Mug. They are $30 each. I went over there to see if I could get one. The line wasn't too bad (apparently it had been very long earlier in the day), but I could sit outside on the patio and order there right away. So I ordered the chicken lettuce wraps and the drink. The drink was a stronger than I expected it to be. It was made with pineapple juice and spiced rum, I think - not sure what else.

Trader Sam's This Chilling Challenge

And here's the mug. There was a limit of two per person, yet these still sold out on Friday. The Parks blog reports that another shipment will arrive closer to Halloween. I continue to be amazed at how poorly Disney estimates the demand for these sorts of items.

Trader Sam's Hitchhiking Ghosts Mug

Downtown Disney had a couple types of Halloween banners.

Tower of Terror banner

When I went back to DCA around 5:00 the bag check line on the Downtown Disney side was really long. It stretched back into the tram area on one side, and past the entrance to Downtown Disney on the other. Wow. I'd like to see them implement a "no bags" line like they do at Disney World. That wouldn't have helped me at all, but it might help things move along faster overall.

There are lots of new seasonal food items for the Halloween season. The Disney Parks blog posted this list.

Here are a few of them. Cupcake from Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe:

Halloween Time Cupcake

These poison apple mugs were first released last year, but they must have sold out quickly. They are EVERYWHERE this year - I think I saw them at most of the quick service locations in Disneyland (and some in DCA), and even at Mortimer's Market, which is more of a fruit stand. Depending on where they are purchased, they are available with a beverage, ice cream, or fruit.

Halloween Time Poison Apple Mug

The French Market has this multi-layer Cookies and Cream Mousse Coffin Cake.

Halloween Time Coffin Cake

It seemed to me as though a number of the food items were not yet available - I didn't see signs posted like I usually do. Except for the Poison Apple mugs - did I mention that those were EVERYWHERE? :-)

I had a really good day. Crowds were not too bad, and I got to ride Haunted Mansion Holiday four times!







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.








August 1, 2016

Disneyland Resort Updates - 7/29/16

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, July 29, 2016.

An overview of the Star Wars Themed Land construction at Disneyland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Here is a video look around the site.




The wall nearest Fantasyland has had a coating applied to it.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

The walls along the Big Thunder trail have been coated too and are being extended.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

A lot of activity toward Critter Country this visit.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Some columns on the wall structure and looks like dirt is being put in between the wall and columns.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

A closer look at the far side of the site where they are stalling large steel i-beams. They bore a hole then lower the beam in and fill the hole with concrete. Guessing this will be the support steel for rockwork.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

In the center of the site a lot of footers taking shape for the retaining walls for the river, rock work and the backstage Fantasmic marina.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

A retaining wall near what appears to be the new tip of the island.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Most of the pipes that were staged here are now installed. More I-beams are on site now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

A closer look at what appears to be the curve of the river with the forms on the left and outhouse on the right.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

The new Starbucks in Downtown Disney is open.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Most outdoor vending carts now feature a small podium with a cash register, this one in Paradise Pier.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

The Tower of Terror from Sunset Blvd.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

The old Mad T Party props are now gone.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Over to Disneyland, a look through the fence at the end of the Big Thunder Trail shows the new wall along the old walkway.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Pocahontas was out meeting guests along the trail.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Some scaffolding has come down on Tom Sawyer Island revealing a new color scheme.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

A check of the work from near the canoe dock in Critter Country.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

In New Orleans Square some renovation work going on at the Train Station. You can still visit the train during the work.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Time for the nightly Flag Retreat.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

The old workshop near the Village Haus is now called the Royal Reception and it appears to be a check-in area for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. I did not venture inside.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

A check of the former Skyway area. The walkways have been removed and new plants and trees brought in.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Casey Jr. had no wait so went for a ride.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Casey Jr traveling over Storybook Land

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Another example of an outdoor vending podium

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

The Toontown Depot is behind walls for some renovation work.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Walls up under the monorail.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Jambalaya Jazz performing on the Rivers of America

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Time for Paint the Night.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016

Disneyland Forever fireworks were cancelled so instead a couple minute projection/light/laser finale.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 29, 2016


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







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.







June 19, 2016

Disneyland Resort Updates - 6/17/16

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, June 17, 2016.

An overview of the Star Wars site from the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure.

Now a pan across the site from left to right.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The large mound of dirt is shrinking as trucks haul it away.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The Skyway building is now gone this week. Almost all the demolition work is done and major clearing. They have now started to build.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Soarin' Around the World premiered today here (as well as in Epcot; Shanghai opened yesterday). Only change outside I noticed is the "Around the World" replaced "California".

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

FastPass logo has been updated. Not surprisingly they were almost gone for the day at 1:35pm.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Since the wait was posted at 75 minutes and looked slightly shorter I decided to get in line at 1:38pm.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

FastPass distribution ended around 1:50pm and they closed it up while I stood in line waiting. They made an announcement of technical difficulties and they would be down to one theater. Which doubled the wait time.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Almost to the front door at 2:36pm, an hour in. They were letting less than 10 standby guests into each cycle. So we were moving very slowly. The FastPass return line stretched out toward the entrance of Smokejumpers Grill (it turned the corner and I could not see the end).

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Finally made it inside the door at 2:58pm I saw no changes to the interior queue. Background music seemed the same loop too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Watching the pre-flight video at 3:33pm. Instead of clouds and cities the new one has a map that features the locations.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The safety video is the same, just no over California in it. I was seated and ready for my flight at 3:38pm

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

On my way up the exit at 3:45pm. So it was 127 minutes from when I entered the queue till I exited the building.

My first impressions - The clarity of the new film is impressive and the scenic locations are amazing. Though I felt they went to the computer graphics well too many times. The locations themselves are visually stunning and in almost all cases did not need the "enhancements". Sometimes they seemed to dominate and distract from the amazing sights. I also found the transitions between scenes to be annoying - the abrupt motion and sound versus a peaceful transition bothered me. I would have liked to have seen them show a little more restraint and pick/choose where to use the effects more.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The Silly Symphony Swings are back in operation.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Frozen Live at the Hyperion is up to four shows daily now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Next stop Disneyland. Surprised there was nothing going on for Finding Dory. First stop for me was the Big Thunder Trail. A second fence with mesh has gone up blocking the nice clear view we had of the Star Wars construction.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

There was a small crack left with no fence, so here are a couple quick pics. The forms look to be up near the old Big Thunder Trail, wonder if it is for a retaining wall or structure that will be the visual barrier for the new walkway.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The hole in the fence here is still available (this week at least).

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The 2016 All-American College Band started their summer in the park on Thursday. Here is Ron at the nightly Flag Retreat.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The All-American College Band performing a Disneyland Attraction Medley during their 6:15pm The Castle Set



The band moves to Main Street to perform music from the Incredibles

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

As they move toward Town Square they play Gonna Take You There from Princess and the Frog.



They stop again near the Emporium and perform Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

After their performance I headed for Tomorrowland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Autopia was down for some reason.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

Time for the 7:15pm All-American College Band set at the Train Station in Town Square. The set opens with "Bubbles was a Cheerleader."



Meet the 2016 All-American College Band.



The set features a Jungle Book medley this year.



The band plays a pre-parade starting at 8:15pm near Small World with their Disney Movie Medley.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

They then move to the hub and perform Uptown Funk.



The band stops on Main Street and performs Let it Go.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

The last stop for pre-parade is Town Square and they performed a Star Wars Medley.



Since I was in Town Square I found a spot for Paint the Night

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

I closed out my evening with Disneyland Forever

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 17, 2016

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







June 16, 2016

Disneyland Resort - Jammin' on the Backlot & Polynesian Nights - 6/10/16

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, June 10, 2016.

This posting will focus on two of the summer evening entertainment options. For a look at other happenings on Friday visit the full picture set on my site.

Jammin' on the Backlot has taken over for the Mad T Party this summer. It kicked off at 6pm and runs until park closing.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

The benches are turned to watch the DJ and dance party. Not much happening on the dance floor right now. Just a couple kids out there. This was around 6:15pm

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

The DJ for the evening on stage. She was playing a mix of music including current tracks and some Disney ones on occasion.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

A couple of set pieces on the stage.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

A few more families join the dancing.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

The DJ was working to try and engage the guests.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

The decorations are minimal for this event compared to previous events like the Mad T Party and ElecTRONica.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

The food truck is open. Here is the menu.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Picnic tables to sit at in the former House of Cards stage area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

A closer look at the tables

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

The former House of Cards Bar is un-named with covered menus, but it was open in the evening.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Here is the menu. Guessing this will change after Grad Nite season concludes.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

The face painting area has returned, this was open throughout the day too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

The Backlot Stage does not appear to be in use for the party.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

This was around 6:40pm

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

In Downtown Disney this summer each night has a musical theme. Fridays are Polynesian nights..

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Tupua has returned again and the show is nearly identical to previous years. You travel the South Pacific through music and dance.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Hawaii

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Samoa

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

I returned to California Adventure and took another walk through the Backlot. This was just before 8pm

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

A few more guests around the dance floor vs a earlier.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, June 10, 2016

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








May 28, 2016

Review: "Frozen--Live at the Hyperion"

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A new show has taken residence at the Hyperion Theater in Disney California Adventure this summer: "Frozen--Live at the Hyperion."

[Photos and video not attributed were provided by Disney.]

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Taking the place of "Aladdin--A Musical Spectacular," which ran in the same venue for thirteen years, this production takes the hit animated film into the realm of live musical theater.

To translate the widely embraced tale of two sisters divided by fear and questionable parenting, Disney Creative Entertainment enlisted the Tony Award nominated Director Liesl Tommy to weave a large-scale production involving video projections, a 2,200 square foot video wall, and a cast and crew of more than 200. Michael Curry, who co-designed the animal puppets for "The Lion King" on Broadway created versions of Olaf and Sven in the same vein.

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Technically, the production is gorgeous. The back video wall is so clear and high-definition that sitting in the first ten rows of the orchestra, it didn't even initially occur to me that it wasn't a practical backdrop. The 45,000 sq. ft. "Aurora" curtain surrounding the stage looks beautiful and allows the projections to surround the audience and create a sense of environment and motion that is far and away better than any use I've seen yet made of similar effects.

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The main set piece is Elsa's ice stairwell which allows her to walk out a little ways over the audience. It's an impressive structure and is used to greater effect than her ice chandelier which is pretty enough to be disappointing when it doesn't do a big "Phantom of the Opera" crash down.

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The musical numbers, in many ways the strength of the original film, have justice done to them as all the Anderson-Lopez/Lopez songs are represented in the show. "For the First Time in Forever," "Love Is An Open Door," and "In Summer" in particular are expanded out into larger ensemble pieces to nice effect. While the music is all pre-recorded, the vocals are all performed live.

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103 performers are used for the various performances, with a couple different actors switching out for the major roles throughout the day. From the three performances I saw, some were a little better vocally, and some had the edge as far as acting, but all did a very capable job. The standout in general for me was Olaf, all of whose actors/puppeteers really caught his quirky charm.

There would, I think, be little point in remaking an exact duplicate of the animated film on stage, and to their credit, this production does emphasize slightly different facets of the story while still adhering pretty closely to the original. The returning motif for this version is doors (of which they have seven different pairs)--the physical ones shut between the girls by their parents in childhood, and the emotional ones they must reopen to reconnect in a time of need.

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Probably the weakest part of the production is, in fact, how near it keeps to the plot of the movie (which I originally reviewed here.) The resolution has always seemed rushed in parts with a lot owing to coincidence at the end. Here, because of practical limitations of time and scope, virtually all scenes with Elsa between her transformation and her reunion with Hans and Anna at the end are clipped to brief tableaus--if you blink, you might miss her capture which is barely even implied. While the Broadway production of "Frozen" currently in development is said to be completely separate from this, it's hard not to think that "Live at the Hyperion" isn't being used as something of a test, in which case one would hope that they would devise something different for these parts, that works better for stage.

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By this time, I think most people have figured out for themselves whether they are on the "Frozen" train or not. If the last two years have totally burnt you out on the movie, this is probably not going to convert you into an instant fan. If you still enjoy it, as I do, then this is a nice version that is technically a huge step forward from the erstwhile "Aladdin," and could be a terrific way for people to introduce themselves to live musical theater.

The first time I watched it in previews, the group behind me discussed beforehand how none of them had seen "Frozen" before (apparently not big animation fans.) Observing them cheer for Elsa as she begins to find her power, "OH SNAP" at the Hans reveal, and rise to their feet for a standing ovation at the end makes you think that after all this time, Elsa and Anna's story of fear, loss, empowerment, love, and redemption still has life in it.

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"Frozen--Live at the Hyperion" runs 70 minutes and is currently playing three shows a day. Fast Pass ticketing recommended.

May 16, 2016

Disneyland Resort Updates - 5/13/16

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, May 13, 2016.

Since Laura covered the re-opened and new attractions I will use this post to check in on the projects around the resort. This trip marked my 13th trip of the year, appropriately enough on Friday the 13th.

Let us start off with a check of the Star Wars construction. They have removed more backstage buildings since my last visit and it appears they have now done the initial demo work on all the buildings and the fence line/perimeter of the project is set. Here you can see the far end of it stretches all the way to the Winnie the Pooh show building.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

A short video overview of the site taken from the Mickey and Friends parking structure.





Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

Looking toward where the Big Thunder Ranch used to be. In the distance you can see the old Fantasyland Skyway building.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

There were several large earth movers cruising the site adding to the large mound of dirt on the former Circle D site.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

Another video clip of the site.

A large mound of dirt has been created on the former ranch site using the old berm and river banks dirt.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

Working on clearing the plants and other debris from the berm near Critter Country.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

A second Starbucks is slated to open this summer, it is being painted now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

The Monorail is closed for renovation.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

The House of Blues closes the end of the month.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

LittleMissMatched is gone and Chapel Hats has moved in.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

The closure list for today.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

Pirates is closed and rumor is FastPass is returning.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

From the bridge near Splash Mountain. In the distance you can see the parking structure where I took the earlier pictures.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

Looking through the fence.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

From the Hungry Bear.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

A video clip of the Star Wars work from the Hungry Bear.



Star Wars work from the Big Thunder Trail.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

A video clip from the Big Thunder Trail of the Star Wars work.



Big Thunder this afternoon.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

The Super Hero HQ sign has been removed.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

The Paradise Garden Grill closed several weeks ago, internet reporting is due to budget cutbacks around the resort.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

The swings are closed for renovation.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

Grizzly River Run is closed for renovation too. No signs of work going on, though.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

The Rambler had the tailgate open today.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

There was audio coming from the car too. Here is a video clip so you can hear the music playing.

Gone Hollywood has become a Star Wars and Marvel store.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

A look around. On the right when you enter is Marvel.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

On the left Star Wars

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

The Pixar Play Parade rolling by

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

The Studio Store in Hollywood Land now features some Alice & Dory merchandise.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

Zootopia has been removed from the Animation Building.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

The animation building was busy this afternoon.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

Soarin' will receive a new film on June 17th featuring global sights. In preparation for this the signage now sports the new logo and many California references have been removed over the past several months.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

Walked through Elias and Company. A lot of Finding Dory merchandise is available now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

Back to Disneyland. The restrooms at the Space Mountain exit are closed for renovation.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

Watched Paint the Night from Main Street.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

Found a spot for Disneyland Forever

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

Showtime

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, May 13, 2016

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







May 14, 2016

Disneyland and DCA - New Attractions and Shows

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On our recent trip I had the opportunity to experience some new shows and attractions that have recently opened. I say "new", but two of them were actually updates of existing attractions that just came out of lengthy refurbishments.

The first is the Jungle Cruise, which just re-opened on May 6. The biggest change was to the dock area, to help keep the boats more stable during the loading/unloading process. The dock that you seen on the right side of this photo was added, which helps to confine the boats and limit their movement.

Jungle Cruise dock

Here's a view from the boat - you can see the boats also had bumpers added to them.

Jungle Cruise dock

A closer view of the bumper.

Jungle Cruise dock

There really weren't any changes to the ride itself - everything was just freshened up. The skippers still tell the same corny jokes. (Here was our first sign of "Danger.")

Jungle Cruise

I thought the piranhas sprayed more than I've seen before.

Jungle Cruise

We had a slight wait before going to the dock to unload, so heard a longer version of the menu at the "Cannibal Cafe" - rump roast, toe-fu, ladyfingers, Girl Scout cookies, cold shoulder...

Jungle Cruise Trader Sam

The elephant was added to the roof above Tropical Imports.

Jungle Cruise

It was nice to see the Jungle Cruise return - it's a classic attraction.

Another refurbished classic attraction is the Tomorrowland Autopia. The big change is that Honda is now the sponsor rather than Chevron. There's a whole new color scheme now.

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The cars are still the same, though some of them have an updated body with a Honda logo. Others appear completely unchanged.

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You can see some of the old and new cars in this photo.

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The load process is still the same.

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I hadn't done this ride in a long time. I thought that the graphics on the screen in the loading area and inside the building part of the queue were new, but I could be wrong.

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Some of the graphics on the outdoor screen were fun.

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The track is still the same - some interesting views.

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There is still a short "off-road" section. It had rained earlier on the day we did it, so that area was a little muddy.

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There's still the booths on the exit ramp where for $5 you can get a photo taken to put onto your Autopia Driver License.

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We had to laugh when looking around the queue - I'd say that 2/3 of those riding were parties of adults WITHOUT children. Pretty high nostalgia factor for this one.

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One change: Autopia is no longer a Fastpass attraction.

Over in DCA...

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters, which replaced Luigi's Flying Tires, opened in March. It's the first attraction in the U.S. Disney parks to use the trackless vehicle technology that they have in the overseas parks. The cars are Luigi's cousins from Carsoli, Italy, who are demonstrating some of the traditional dances from their village. The cars move all around the floor as they whirl around each other, and at the end they all dance and spin in formation.

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters

There are five different songs, most of them accompanied by lots of beeping.

It's quite finicky about operating conditions, though. I saw it E-stop because someone's hat blew onto the surface, and on this recent trip I was on the ride when it stopped because of light drizzle. (Cast members had warned us that might happen - they gave us a pass that was good for almost any ride in either park.)

Autopia

It's a cute ride, and the spinning at the end is fun, but a lot of us preferred the Flying Tires.

Over in the Animation Building, the Turtle Talk with Crush show has been updated to include characters from the upcoming "Finding Dory" movie. Dory and Destiny the Whale Shark appear together in an extended scene, as does Bailey the Beluga.

Turtle Talk with Crush and Finding Dory

Turtle Talk with Crush and Dory

There's also Marlin, Hank the Octopus, and a hermit crab.

Turtle Talk with Crush and Finding Dory

Turtle Talk with Crush and Finding Dory

Turtle Talk with Crush and Dory

I saw this several times - it seemed much more scripted than it has in the past. I think that's mostly to get the appearances of the "Finding Dory" characters in there. Still a cute show, though, and it was very popular with the kids.

Finally, I saw the new sneak peek of the upcoming Alice in Wonderland film: "Alice Through the Looking Glass." Instead of the "It's tough to be a bug" theater, where the sneak peeks are usually held, this one is in the former Muppets Theater, now that the "Frozen" sing-along has moved out. The theater has been renamed the "Sunset Showcase Theater." On the outside are some of the oversize props from the Mad T Party.

Through the Looking Glass preview

On the inside, though, it still looks like a hall in the Kingdom of Arendelle.

Sunset Showcase Theater

There's something fun in the pre-show area: two booths that will transform you into different characters from Alice in Wonderland. I thought it was pretty well-done. To get started you answer a few questions on the touch panel in front of you, and then look into the mirror above. After some initial process takes places you can use the touch panel to select which characters you want to see yourself as - Mad Hatter:

Alice Mad Hatter

Queen of Hearts:

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White Queen:

Alice White Queen

Cheshire Cat:

Alice Cheshire Cat

White Rabbit:

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At the end you choose one of them and mug for the camera. Then, if you have supplied an email address during the introductory portion, it will email you a video.

It was fun to do, and fun to watch. There's a line off to the side for those who wish to try it. It takes several minutes for each person.

The movie clip itself was in 3D. There were just a couple of "4D" effects. Not really my cup of "tea", though. The movie opens June 10; the sneak peek is scheduled to run through June 12.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

While this wasn't a new attraction or show, it was still something new...ducklings! They were in one of the planters near the hub. It's always fun to see the new babies every spring.

Disneyland ducklings

We still have some more new things to look forward to - the new Frozen - Live at the Hyperion musical, as well as the new Soarin' Around the World film. Frozen opens May 27; Soarin' is scheduled for June 17.







May 12, 2016

World of Color Dessert Party - Disney California Adventure

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World of Color Dessert Party Desserts

Back in March Disneyland added a new premium viewing experience for World of Color - the World of Color Dessert Party. Recently Disney invited me to bring a few friends and experience it for myself.

There's more details below, but my initial reaction? Wow. If you're going to purchase a viewing package, then THIS is the way to see World of Color!

Check-in begins 45 minutes before the show starts at one of the entrances to the World of Color viewing area along Paradise Bay. That was a little bit slow - we had arrived about 30 minutes before check-in began and were at the front of the line, and it was about 8 minutes before we were seated. Everyone received wristbands, and then a cast member escorted us to our table.

World of Color Dessert Party

Yes, that's right, I said table. Not only do you get to sit at a table to enjoy your desserts, you get to stay seated for the entire show!

The tables were on the level just below the check-in area. Approximately the center of the viewing area right behind those who were standing in the "Premium Dining Package" viewing area. There were two rows of table along the front and back of that area. Most of them looked like they sat four people. (We were told that had our party been less than four, we would share the table with others.)

World of Color Dessert Party Tables

In the back was the bar/beverage station.

World of Color Dessert Party

In addition to soft drinks, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, adults could choose to enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and their signature World of Color cocktail - which was a lovely shade of blue. (Made with blue curacao, coconut rum, Sprite and some thing else. It did not contain much alcohol.)

World of Color Dessert Party Cocktail

We were told that kids under the age of 10 would receive the World of Color glow cup, but I didn't see anyone who had them. There is also supposed to be sparkling cider available to kids or adults who would prefer that.

There was a dessert menu on our table.

World of Color Dessert Party Menu

Our server quickly arrived and brought us a basket of bread, and told us she'd like to bring our dessert plates first so that was could get started on them and then take our drink orders. Since by this point we only had about 30 minutes until the show started, we appreciated her haste.

World of Color Dessert Party Bread Basket

The dessert plates had a lovely selection of items. I was so much more impressed with these than with what was offered in the Fantasmic! Dessert box. Most of that was always dry and inedible. But this was much more my idea of what should be available at a dessert party! We had three cheeses: Manchego, Brie, and mild cheddar. Also a bunch of green grapes (though mine were not the freshest). For sweet items there was a chocolate mocha bundt cake, a Mickey coconut macaroon, waffle bowl with berries and lime yogurt mousse, Dulce de Leche filled shortbread cookie, and a mini French macaroon (various flavors of these - between us we had pistachio, raspberry, and caramel).

World of Color Dessert Party Plates

Disney can accommodate special dietary requirements - just provide that information at the time of booking.

Our server took our drink order and returned with small bottles of water, sparkling wine AND the cocktail for two of us (we were allowed to have one of each as part of the Dessert Party), and coffee and hot chocolate for the other two. She returned just before the show started and asked if we wanted anything else, and then returned near the end of the show to ask again.

World of Color Dessert Party

Even though we were seated, we were still high enough that we had an excellent view of World of Color - Celebrate. Lee and I had seen it before but our guests had only seen the original version, and they really enjoyed this one. Unfortunately for us on the night that we saw it, the projection screen on the Fun Wheel was not in use because of wind. So all of that content was on the smaller California Screamin' screen, where it was harder to see.

World of Color Dessert Party

There was only a single show that night, so after the show was over we were able to linger at our table without being in the way and delaying preparations for a second seating. Our server, without any prompting from us, asked us if we wanted boxes to take some of our uneaten desserts home in. I'd intentionally eaten the less-travel friendly ones in anticipation of that, so we went home with some cheese, shortbread, mini macaroon and Mickey macaroon, and chocolate bundt cake. I enjoyed them later that weekend - the bundt cake was especially good. It really was a very nice dessert selection.

The price for the Dessert Party is $79/person, which includes tax and gratuity. As I mentioned, we were Disney's guests for this one, but if I wanted a premium experience I'd be willing to pay for it. I felt like I really received a premium experience. I had a seat for the show, I had someone serve me yummy desserts and cocktails, and I had time to enjoy it. My only real complaint is that I would like them to admit Dessert Party guests an hour before the show starts - as it was we felt a little rushed. Either that, or go down the line an hour before and do pre-check-in and give out the wristbands. That would speed the seating process once the seating area is opened.

World of Color Dessert Party

There's no question that this is a "splurge" experience. The regular World of Color dining packages, where you receive a three-course lunch or dinner, run anywhere from $30-$62 for adults, not including tax and tip. Less expensive, and a lot more food. Those packages give you access to an excellent viewing area, but it's standing only, and it's still pretty crowded. If you want a prime spot right within the viewing area you'll still need to line up at least an hour and a half in advance of showtime. The Dessert Party is more expensive, but gives you a seat and a more exclusive experience. You have to decide for yourself if it's worth it to you.

The World of Color Dessert Party can be booked up to 60 days in advance either on-line at https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/disney-california-adventure/world-of-color-dessert-party/ or by calling 714-781-DINE or (714-781-3463). Full payment is required at the time of booking. Reservations may be canceled up to 24 hours in advance.

Disclaimer: I was an invited guest of the Disneyland Resort at the World of Color Dessert Party. This did not affect my review, and my opinions are my own.








April 12, 2016

2016 Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival - Update and Additional Experiences

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On Sunday I returned for my second taste of this year's Food and Wine Festival.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

There was a new Festival guide map at the turnstiles for the weekend.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

We went to the Blue Sky Cellar to get our AP button and recipe cards - but the button was the same as last weekend. The cast member said they will change on Mondays. So the next day the new button and recipe cards would be released. The Festival is mostly on weekends...but the buttons are released on Mondays??? Doesn't make much sense to me.

Last week I mentioned the AP Passport - which was $45 for 6 tastings (food only), which made it not a good value at all unless you stuck to the three items that were $7.50, $7.75, and $8.00. I'm happy to say that they fixed that - the passport is $39 now. So if you buy food items that cost $6.50 or more, and there are six of those, then you will at least break even, if not come out a little bit ahead.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

AND, for those of us who purchased it last week when it was $45, there is a $10 gift card by way of apology. I went to the Blue Sky Cellar where they scanned my AP and punched a hole in the lanyard, then gave me the gift card. It didn't matter that I'd already used several tabs off the lanyard. So I thought they handled that well.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

At 11:00 on Sunday morning, the lines were already long at the Festival Marketplaces. Last Friday the wait was mostly to order, but this week there were lengthy waits both to order and to pickup the food. In some cases the booths were waiting to be re-supplied with one of the food items - most are prepared in a remote kitchen somewhere. In other cases, there's some plating that happens in the booths, and that seemed to be going very slowly.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

Cast members were building masking tape queues - it had rained earlier and they had to wait until the ground was dry.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

The good news is that there still seemed to be plenty of interest in the Festival Marketplace booths, and lots of people were trying and enjoying the various food and beverage offerings. But by the end of the second full weekend I would've thought the supply and service issues would have been worked out a little better. (The long line in the photo below is for pick-up - it's especially slow at the beer and wine booths.)

DCA Food and Wine Festival

From the Viva Fresca! Marketplace I was finally able to try the Anaheim Chile and Roasted Cauliflower Burrito with Jack cheese and avocado-lime crema. Last weekend they ran out of them, and it was going to be a 15-20 minute wait. This time they were also out of them, but were expecting more within 5 minutes. There were probably 8 people in front of me also waiting for the burritos. Once they arrived they were served up pretty quickly. This was really good - it's now my favorite Festival item. For $5.50 it's a generous serving. The flour tortilla is stuffed full of mild green chiles, cauliflower and lots of melted cheese. It's a little spicy, and the avocado crema helps to cool it off.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Chile and Cauliflower Burrito

From the same Marketplace I also ordered the Fried Shrimp Soft Taco with pickled red onion and jalapeno, queso fresco, and avocado-lime crema. This was actually two soft tacos - one on a white corn tortilla and one on blue corn. These were also very good, though the pickled vegetables were a little strong and made me cough. I liked them, though. $6.50 for this one.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Fried Shrimp Soft Taco

At LA Style I tried the Pork Belly Bao Taco - also with pickled vegetables, for $6.50. These pickled vegetables weren't nearly as strong, though. This dish was also a winner - the steamed "taco shell" was soft and chewy and the pork belly and veggies inside had a very good flavor. It wasn't nearly as fatty as I expected.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Pork Belly Bao Taco

Both last weekend and this weekend I went to one of the Beverage Seminars. I booked these at the beginning of March when the schedule first went up. They are $15/person (plus tax and gratuity), paid in advance, though the reservation can be cancelled up to 24 hours in advance. There's very little availability for the remaining sessions. Most of them are wine tastings (and you'll find wines from some of the wineries for sale in the Festival Marketplaces), but there are also beer and liquor tastings as well.

The beverage seminars are held outside at the Sonoma Terrace. The area is open-air and only partially covered. Plenty of shade, but not windproof. The trees around it sometimes shed leaves, blossoms, etc. that can end up in the wine glasses.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

About 30 minutes before the seminar starts, cast members start going down the line and checking off names. Showing a photo id is also required at this time, as only those aged 21 and over are allowed into the tasting area. You don't need to be there 30 minutes early - they will continue to check off names as people arrive at the end of the line. Anywhere from 10 minutes before to 5 minutes after they will let people in. It's open seating, and first come,first serve, so if you want to sit in the front, you'll want to be one of the first 8-10 people in line. The presenters have microphones, so you don't need to be in the front to be able to hear them.

The first tasting I attended was Hill Family Estates. They grow a lot of grapes that they supply to well-known wineries, but they started making their own wines, also. The presenter was Ryan Hill, who was a very engaging speaker. We sampled three wines, a chardonnay and two red blends. They weren't really to my taste, but a lot of people in the audience enjoyed them. Ryan had lots of interesting things to tell us and there were a number of questions, so this seminar lasted about 45 minutes.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

This past weekend I went to Sparkling Wines: Cava, Champagne, and Prosecco. This one started late - it was supposed to start at noon but we weren't even admitted into the area until after that. I was expecting to taste Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) Champagne and Prosecco, but we didn't get to try any Cava. And unfortunately all three wines we sampled had been sitting around too long and there were no bubbles! Very disappointing. We tried a real Champagne from the Champagne region of France (Landon), as well as the Iron Horse Fairy Tale Cuvee, which is a sparkling wine from California made in the Champagne method. The third wine was Rosa Regale, which is a red sparkling wine made in the Italian style. I'd had the Iron Horse and the Rosa Regale before, and enjoy them very much. The Landon was also very good.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

This seminar was presented by two Disneyland Resort Sommeliers. They seemed a little nervous, and the seminar was only about 30 minutes.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

Last weekend I also went to one of the Culinary Demonstrations. These are held on the stage in the Hollywood Backlot. There's a demonstration kitchen set up, but NO samples are served. There are benches available for those who arrive early enough, with standing room at the back. Since there's no samples, there doesn't seem to be nearly the demand for these that there was in the past. While all of the benches were full, there was still plenty of standing room.

We saw Chef Jamie Gwen - we remember seeing her at previous Festivals. This was her first demonstration this year and she was very excited to be back!

DCA Food and Wine Festival

She made buffalo meatball sliders - with two meatballs piled on top of each other. They looked very good. She was an entertaining and informative speaker - I learned how chefs dice an onion. :-)

DCA Food and Wine Festival

Also in the Backlot area, but on the opposite stage (where the Mad T Party band used to perform) are the Lifestyle Seminars. There is quite the variety of topics for these - in addition to gardening and wellness tips, there's also topics like home brewing, "Improving Social Media Photos", and "The Recipes of Star Wars." A number of the sessions also feature artists creating pieces of art right in front of you. Jason saw this session by Stephen Fishwick.

And this past weekend I saw Craig Fraser.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Craig Fraser

It looks like these are pretty lightly attended - there's only one row of bench seating and not much standing room behind it.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

As part of the Festival, several of the artists also have art featured in "Off the Page" and have signing sessions scheduled there.

DCA Food and Wine Festival


DCA Food and Wine Festival








April 4, 2016

It's Back! The 2016 Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival

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A long time ago, in a theme park not so far away....there was a Food and Wine Festival. It wasn't the biggest one around, but it experienced steady growth over the years, and every year there were even more interesting events and unique experiences. Its faithful fans loved it, and looked forward to it each spring.

And then came construction. And the Festival went on hiatus.

Construction ended, and the theme park was re-dedicated. And guests started asking: "When will the Food and Wine Festival return?" But the question went unanswered.

Several years passed. Guests asked: "WILL the Food and Wine Festival return?" But the question still went unanswered.

Until February 15, 2016. When there was an entry on the Disney Parks blog announcing that the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival would be held on weekends from April 1 to May 1. The announcement was very brief, with few details: there would be Festival Marketplaces serving food and beverages, there would be "culinary demonstrations, appearances by celebrity chefs and informative seminars", and there would be some "premium experiences" which could be reserved.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

Much excitement and celebration ensued - ok, maybe that was just me. :-) No, really, there were a lot of other people equally as enthused, though I think we were all a little puzzled that there was so little information available when the opening date wasn't very far away!

Some additional details emerged over the next month. Reservations opened for the Beverage Seminars ($15/person) and the Celebrity Kitchen featuring a star lineup of chefs ($99/person, with an Annual Passholder VIP experience offered for $149). And my mouth watered when I read about some of the menu items that would be available at the Festival Marketplaces.

Then we waited for April 1 to arrive...

Upon arriving at DCA that morning, I was a little surprised to see that there was no banner across the park entrance, nor on Buena Vista Street, advertising the Festival. However, there was a nice fold-out Festival brochure available at the turnstiles as we entered. I thought it interesting that the brochure contained a schedule only for the first weekend, and not for the entire Festival. (Click on the map image below to see the full-sized version.)

DCA Food and Wine Festival Map



DCA Food and Wine Festival Map

The first sight of the Festival is the Festival Marketplaces. There are eight of them, and they are placed along the parade route between the Carthay Circle Theater and the entrance to Paradise Pier. This is a big change from previous Food and Wine Festivals, where all of the food items had to be sold out of existing restaurant spaces. These new Marketplaces made it feel much more like what we're used to at Epcot. I thought it also made the Festival experience much more central to the park - we didn't have to seek food items out (and previously they were sometimes in very out-of-the-way areas) like we did in the past.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

The booths were not highly decorated (we found out later that they were built on pretty short notice), but I thought they made a good attempt to fit in with the Golden Vine Winery area.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

One very nice thing: they all had eating areas attached to them. There were counters with lattice-type roofs over them to provide some shade. In addition there were tables as well as wine barrels that could be used as places to set your food down.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

The Pixar Play Parade is on hiatus during the Festival - the food booths take up too much space along the parade route. It makes the area feel more crowded than it really is.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

We had a short conversation with Jim Ames, Show Producer for the Festival. As you might imagine, he was quite busy on Friday. :-) The reason that there wasn't much advance notice on the Festival is that the decision to hold the Festival was made on December 31, 2015! The decision was also made to focus on the Festival Marketplaces this year. Those individual food kiosks are something quite new to us, since California food handling laws are quite different than those in Florida. This time Disney was able to work with the people who regulate such things to get permission to build and run them. One of the considerations which is not an issue in Florida is earthquake safety - Jim told us that they are all have bolts that go 1-1/2 feet into the ground! So if they come back next year they will be in exactly the same places.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Marketplaces

Considering the very short timetable I'm pretty surprised they were able to put as much together as they did. A lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

But back to the Festival overview...

The rest of the Festival events take place in Hollywood Land and in the Golden Vine Winery area. The Sonoma Terrace at the Golden Vine Winery hosts the Beverage Seminars. There are three each day on Fridays and four each day on Saturdays and Sundays. Most of the sessions are wine tasting with a featured winery, but at least one each day involves beer tasting or spirits such as vodka, whiskey, or tequila. These sessions are $15/person, plus tax and gratuity, and must be booked in advance. There is still limited availability. Reservations can be canceled up to 24 hours in advance, so it's possible there could be some last-minute openings.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

The Blue Sky Cellar is hosting an Annual Passholder Lounge during the Festival. Each weekend a different button and recipe card will be available to Passholders. This week the recipe was for fried artichokes.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

There are tables inside where passholders can charge phones, etc. Passholders can also sit in the viewing area and watch the Seasons of the Vine movie, which played in the cellar when DCA originally opened in 2001.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

The remaining Festival events are held in Hollywood Land.

Stage 17 in Hollywood Land is where the Celebrity Kitchen events take place. There are two sessions on most Saturdays. Participants receive food tastings, and there's featured wine pairings for those 21 and older. Following the presentation is an autograph session. The scheduled chefs are:

-- Robert Irvine (Restaurant Impossible)
-- Andrew Sutton (Disneyland Resort Executive Chef)
-- Guy Fieri (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives)
-- Keegan Gerhard (Food Network Challenge) and Hayden Wood (“Flair” Bartender)
-- G. Garvin (Road Trip with G. Garvin)
-- Graham Elliot (MasterChef)

As I mentioned earlier, the price is $99, or $149 for the Annual Passholder VIP experience. Plus tax and gratuity. Cancellations must take place at least 72 hours in advance to be refunded.

A new event was just announced on the Festival's opening day: A Conversation with Kurt Russell. During this 90-minute Q&A session Kurt Russell will talk about his experiences as a wine maker. Wine tasting will be included. This event will be held in Stage 17 on April 16. Reservations can only be made by calling 714-781-DINE. The price is $199/person plus tax and gratuity.

Also in Hollywood Land, the Culinary Demonstrations and Lifestyle Seminars take place in the backlot area. The Culinary Demonstrations are held on the Backlot Stage, where a demonstration kitchen has been set up. This is a free event but it is a demonstration only - no tastings will be served. There is some seating available on benches, and there is standing room at the back. (The web site and the Festival Guide both say that the Culinary and Lifestyle demos are standing room only, but that was not the case on opening day.)

DCA Food and Wine Festival Culinary Demos

The Lifestyle Seminars take place on the stage most recently occupied by the Mad T Party band. These are more of a mixed bag: presentations on topics like gardening, wellness, and entertaining, but also live demonstrations by featured artists. This area also has some bench seating available, but most of the viewing area is standing room only.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Lifestyle Seminars

Festival merchandise is available at The Studio Store in Hollywood Land, just outside Stage 17.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

There were several different t-shirts, including an AP-exclusive shirt, as well as hats, wine glasses, and other event merchandise.

DCA Food and Wine Festival merchandise

DCA Food and Wine Festival shirt

DCA Food and Wine Festival



DCA Food and Wine Festival

These combination plate and glass holders were popular items.

DCA Food and Wine Festival merchandise

It was opening day, and there were some opening day hiccups. The biggest issue seemed to be with point-of-sale terminals that weren't working, resulting in long lines at most of the food booths in the beginning. Most of the booths had only one working register - and sometimes it wasn't working. That situation improved as the day went on - by late afternoon the lines were short/non-existent. There were also some supply issues - they either ran out of a couple of Marketplace items before the day was over, or had to tell guests that it would be a 15-20 minute wait until they had more. That was frustrating.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

Still, people were excited - lots of people there who were fans of the previous Festivals. But we saw lots of young people, too, who would have been too young to drink five years ago when the last Festival took place. :-)

And now I'm sure you're asking: "So what about the food???"

There were only two of us, but we attempted to sample a variety of items. We were hampered in the beginning because of the long lines, but eventually we just couldn't eat any more. Overall I thought the food was good. Nothing that I'm going to rave that "you've got to try this!", though there were several items I'd recommend because I thought they were interesting. I'm looking forward to trying additional items on future visits. I felt the portion sizes and prices were in-line with what you see at the Epcot F&W Festival.

Festival Marketplace Menus

We started at the Gold Rush booth, where we tried all three food items plus a glass of wine. First up was Triple Cheese Mac with smoked chicken, Fontina, cheddar, and Gouda cheeses. This may have been our favorite item of the day. It was a good-sized portion for $6.00, and the mix of cheeses and smoked chicken was very tasty. The crunchy bits on top added some nice texture.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Triple Cheese Mac

Next was the Artichoke Chips with Spicy Aioli for $5.00. This was not what I was expecting, but it was good. I was expecting the artichokes to be crisp like a chip, but they weren't. I think they had a bit of a Parmesan crust, which was crunchy.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Artichoke Chips

The dessert was Apple Bacon Whoopie Pie with maple cream cheese icing and bacon brittle for $3.75. I was really not sure what this was going to be - but it was really very good! This would be one of those "I recommend you try it" things. It did not taste bacony to me - I wouldn't have known the bits on top were bacon. The apple-cream cheese filling was really good. Maybe too sweet for some people, though.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Apple Bacon Whoopie Pie

I also tried the glass of Zaca Mesa Viognier for $5.00. I like white wines, and this was nice and refreshing. Not as dry as a Sauvignon Blanc, but not as sweet as a Riesling. In between.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Zaca Mesa Viognier

Lee wanted to try the MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir, but that was one of the things that was unavailable.

By the way, those eating areas attached to the booths that I mentioned earlier? Brilliant. Even though the booths were busy, we never had a problem finding a place to set our food down so that we could eat.

DCA Food and Wine Festival

Next we visited The Farm. Lee tried the Tenderloin Slider with chimichurri. At $7.75 this was one of the most expensive Marketplace items. He said that it was very good.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Tenderloin Slider

I tried the Golden Thai Vegetable Curry with jasmine rice for $5.75. This was a pretty generous serving but the vegetables were mostly red peppers and mushrooms, two things that I don't like. The curry sauce was good - a little bit of heat, but not too bad. Tasted good on the rice.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Thai Curry

Lee tried the Southern California Beer Flight from The Brewhouse for $12.25. It was supposed to include Hanger 24's Orange Wheat, Karl Strauss Columbia Street Amber, Bootlegger's Brewery Palomino Pale Ale, and Barley Forge's "The Patsy" Coconut Rye Stout. But no Columbia Street Amber, so they substituted something else. The Coconut Rye Stout was really good - definitely could taste the coconut.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Beer Flight

By the Bay is appropriately named, as it's the last Marketplace and closest to Paradise Pier. We tried all of the food items here, also, though it took us two visits, because they were out of the Chilled Shrimp and Snow Crab Cocktail the first time. (And on the second visit I got the next to last one!) It was good, but again not what I expected - instead of cocktail sauce, it was more like gazpacho. And a gazpacho that was very heavy on the cucumber, which I don't like. This one was $8.00. For the amount of shrimp in it, that's probably a reasonable price, as long as you like the cucumber in the sauce.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Shrimp and Crab Cocktail

The winner here was the White Cheddar Ale and Bacon Soup served in a Boudin sourdough mini-boule for $5.50. The soup was really good, though it was a very small serving. But the mini-boule was crunchy and chewy and filling and all of those things that good sourdough bread should be.

DCA Food and Wine Festival White Cheddar Ale and Bacon Soup

We also tried the dessert: Coconut Tapioca layered with fresh mango and lychee boba, topped with green tea micro sponge and mango-couli sesame tuile. What, you might ask, is green tea micro sponge? I wondered that too. It really was an airy spongey thing. Edible, but weird texture and flavor. The tapioca and fruit and boba were interesting, but not really my thing, and $4.25 seemed too pricey. Though given all the layers, there was a fair bit of work assembling this.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Coconut Tapioca

At the Wine Country Marketplace Lee tried the other $8.00 Festival item: Zinfandel-Braised Wagyu Beef with creamy polenta and spring pea puree. He said the Tenderloin Slider was a lot better.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Wagyu Beef

To pay for our more expensive Festival items we used our Festival Marketplace Tasting Passport. These are available for purchase by Annual Passholders. Each passport comes on a lanyard and has 6 detachable tabs. Each can be exchanged for one food item at any of the Marketplaces. Food items only, no beer or wine. The Marketplace menus are listed on the back of the passport, which is handy. The passport costs $45. So if you use it for food items that cost $7.50 or above (and there's only three of those) you'll come out ahead. Otherwise, there's no savings at all.

DCA Food and Wine Festival passport



DCA Food and Wine Festival Passport

One thing I didn't mention before: in addition to the Festival Marketplaces, there were also special Festival-Inspired Menus available at some of the restaurants. We tried the Shredded Pork Tostadas from Cocina Cucamonga. This was the standout item of the day. Plenty of shredded pork, topped with grilled pineapple slaw and chipotle crema, and served with Mexican rice, gucamole, sour cream, and salsa fresca. This is a full-sized entree, and was $13.49. It was served on two tortillas, which looked like they were made of a mix of blue corn and yellow corn - very interesting color. We could've shared this, and then gotten something else later.

DCA Food and Wine Festival Pork Tostadas

Here is the list of the other participating restaurants, and their menu items:

Festival-Inspired Menus

I haven't yet talked about the Beverage Seminar and Culinary Demonstrations that we attended, but this is enough for now. Overall it was a good first day. I'm looking forward to going back again next weekend.







March 10, 2016

Disneyland Resort - 2016 Egg-Stravaganza

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, March 4, 2016.

This post will focus on the annual Egg-Stravaganza. For a first look at Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters check out my other post here on AllEars.net or check out my full picture set on disneygeek.com for a more complete look at my visit.

*** Note there are spoilers in this post so if you do not want to know the location of some of the eggs do not read or scroll any further... on the other hand if you want to see the location of all 36 eggs visit my full picture set ***

The 2016 Egg-Stravaganza at the Disneyland Resort started on March 2 and runs through March 27 (or supplies run out).  This year they have expanded to three hunts, one at Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney.  So you can search for up to 36 eggs hidden around the resort. You purchase your map & stickers, for $5.95 plus tax (no discounts apply). Then you set off to find the eggs hidden around the park and identify which character egg is in which location. At any point, even before you've done any hunting, you can redeem your map for one of six prize eggs to take home.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

The six prizes you can choose from.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

The Disneyland map.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

I will include a sample of the eggs from each hunt below. The 20th Century Music Company (Inside)

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

China Closet (Inside)

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

Bonanza Outfitters (Inside)

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

King Arthur Carrousel

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

Pinocchio's Daring Journey

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

The Disney California Adventure map. The redemption location for Disney California Adventure is in Elias & Company.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

Hollywood Land (Water Tower)

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

Hollywood Land (Truck)

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

A Bugs Land (Entrance)

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

Grizzly River Run (Artist Camp) -- I would call it near the DVC kiosk.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

Chamber of Commerce

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

Downtown Disney is new this year. The redemption location is just inside the center door of World of Disney opposite the Mickey and Friends Tram drop off.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

The prizes are the same.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

The Downtown Disney Map

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

Information Booth (Near Disneyland Park Gates)

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

World of Disney (Inside)

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

Marcelines Confectionery (Inside)

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

From here you can see two...

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016



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







March 7, 2016

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters Annual Passholder Preview

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, March 4, 2016.

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsterswas conducting an Annual Passholder preview today, it officially opens on Monday March 7th. Below is a first look at the attraction featuring several videos and pictures. For the full set including more of Luigi's plus a check of the ongoing projects and other happens at the Disneyland Resort visit disneygeek.com

I enjoyed the original Flying Tires attraction. It was flawed in the sense that it did not move as freely or easily as envisioned but with a minimal wait it was still fun. The new Rollickin' Roadsters were much more fun to watch and the five different songs and dance routines added variety to the experience. The colors and details of the cars make it visually interesting too. The on ride experience is very passive and not as smooth as you may anticipate, because of these two reasons I thought the Flying Tires were more fun to ride.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

The line was long. The mass of guests filled the area in front of the attraction and went down Cross Street. The end of the line was near the exit. Earlier in the day it had stretched to Flik's Fun Fair.

I got in line at 1:21pm and this was my view....A new banner for the new attraction. All the Festival of the Flying Tires signage has been swapped out. The other signage stayed as it was.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

The line ahead of me...

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

I reached the queue entrance which had a posted wait of 60 minutes from there at 1:31pm.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

Cast members were in the queue scanning annual passes. Every rider needed one today. The attraction has a 32 inch height requirement to ride.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

Another set of cast members were scanning passes again and handing out key chains

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

Inside the queue looks the same. These posters all looked the same to me.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

This is a new one for the dancing tires...vs flying tires.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

I think this is new. There seemed to be several Carsoli references that I think are new.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

Exited the queue building and had a good look at the cars at 2:20pm, about an hour after entering the line.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

A video clip of the dancing cars from this angle. There are five different songs - this one is "Rollicking Night and Day".

The large sign is updated to feature the cousins vs the Festival of the Flying Tires.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

2:40pm...Waiting to board as the group ahead of us gets ready to start.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

A wide angle video of the full sequence. It is about a minute and a half of ride time.

A second camera, a tighter shot of the same sequence.

Time to board. I wanted the red car...but I paused for a picture and someone passed me for it (I did not see a sheet with the car names, I know they each have one).

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

I ended up with this one instead.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

The seats are hard plastic as you would expect and there is a single seat belt. No doors.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

A Point of View video of my first dance - to Cousin Rosa singing "Mambo Italiano". It was 2:44pm so I'd had about an 80 minute wait.

A look back as I exited. My car getting ready for the next dance.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

I then moved around to the viewing area on Cross Street to watch a couple of dances. A video of a full sequence from this angle.

One more license plate picture before moving on. I needed to get pictures of several dozen eggs and construction before sunset.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

You can read the attraction page on AllEars.Net HERE.

The new Rollickin' Roadsters merchandise was available in Ramone's.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

I stopped back by in the evening, after sunset. The wait had grown as more Annual Passholders arrived after work and school.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

The stroller area was converted into an extended queue.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

The attraction was down when I first showed up.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

They were moving cars around one by one. It was a very slow process to watch.

Here is a video clip of a car being brought out.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016

They then did a full cycle. Here is a look at the cars dancing with no guests.

A second camera for a slightly different view.

Then the attraction reopened.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, March 4, 2016



Hope you enjoyed this first look at Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters 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, https://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.







February 2, 2016

Disneyland Resort - 1/29/16

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, January 29, 2016. In this set of pictures I focus on the closures and ongoing projects around the parks.
The support facility in the Pinocchio lot is nearing completion. Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016
A quick look at the future Star Wars site. Not a lot of visible progress yet.
Equipment is being brought in and fences are up around some of the site. Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016
First stop today, Disneyland. Minnie Rocks the Dots display inside Disney Clothiers Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016
Not much has changed on the Rivers of America since my last trip. With the exception of the Mark Twain & Columbia switching places. Looking up river you can see some ribbons tied on the trees. Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016
The construction wall in Critter Country stretches from the Hungry Bear all the way to the outdoor vending location/ the trail that leads to the small eating area for the Galley. It now features some attraction posters.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016



Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

The wall on the lower level of the Hungry Bear features the Rivers of America. Including the overall story, Mark Twain, and then the rivers it represents.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

Barn doors have been installed on the tunnel by the Hungry Bear.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

The current wait is only 3 months for the Jungle Cruise.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

Time for the Land Cruise... during which the skippers recreate the Jungle Cruise experience with 100% less water and boats.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

Their recreation of the lost safari scene

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016


Here is a video of the experience.




Made my way to the New Orleans Square Train Station. New since my last visit you can now cross the tracks to the original Frontierland Station.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

It was fun to be able to see the original station up close.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

The hand cart has been brought to the area for display too. Cast Members say more is hopefully coming soon.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016


Next up made my way over to the Mark Twain which was in port in Frontierland.

A couple of signs with historical photos and information on the Mark Twain have been added to the queue area. This sign features entertainment and special guests.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

Princess Tiana was onboard for pictures

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016



Tables and chairs have been brought on board on the lower and mid decks and chairs on the upper deck.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

Looking up river.. you really cannot see any changes yet.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

Walls are set up on the Big Thunder trail past the Big Thunder Exit area and the cave, but before the pond and tunnel area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016



A sign to warn you of the dead end ahead and how to find your way to Fantasyland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016



A sign in Fantasyland to help you find Frontierland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

The gates are closed just past the restrooms to block off the Big Thunder trail on the Fantasyland side.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

Small World is closed to have the holiday overlay removed and for some renovation work.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

The Autopia is closed for renovation too.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

Walked through the Star Wars Launch Bay. Only a 20 minute wait for Kylo Ren, for comparison 30 minutes for Chewbacca and 25 for Spider-man

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016


Closures are not just for attractions, the 20th Century Music Company on Main Street is also closed

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

Made my way across the Esplanade to DCA.. which turns 15 on Feb 8th.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016


Thought you may be interested.. here is a video clip of the Esplanade and Entrance to Disney's California Adventure I shot back in January 2001 a few weeks before the park opened.

Some work on the back wall of the Blue Sky Cellar

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016


Zootopia has moved into the Bugs Theater. Some banners on the parade route in the area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016


Continuing my tour of closed attractions. World of Color is currently dark.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016


Red rolling out for pictures, no real visible signs of progress at Luigis, maybe a few new banners peaking over the wall.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

The new attraction is listed in the park guidemap now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

And is on the map.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

New editions of the Buena Vista Bugle are available.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

A display and cash register has been added to the cafe to sell Starbucks merchandise.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

Breaking the trend of the day... Soarin' was open today. It is only open weekends right now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

Stopped by the Silver Spur Supplies in Frontierland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016

In the back of the store is a music box / jukebox. It costs a quarter for a song.

A video clip of the music box in action.


The Haunted Mansion has returned since my last visit the return times and wait times did not line up with my day this trip so I will try to visit next trip.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, January 29, 2016



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







August 3, 2015

Photo Update from Disneyland Resort 7/31 - Entertainment!

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, July 31, 2015.

I spent a "lazy summer" afternoon/evening at the Disneyland Resort. As I wandered around the parks I stopped to enjoy a variety of live entertainment. Here is a look at the various groups I saw on Friday. I have the full picture set from the trip on my site, disneygeek.com

First up the Straw Hatters were performing in the hub near the line board.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

The Boot Strappers performing in New Orleans Square.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

The Disneyland Band marching through the hub playing the theme from Indiana Jones

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

The Disneyland Band performing their Western set in Frontierland (guess Western plus Princess and the Frog)

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

Lightning rolling through Radiator Springs (while not a performing group decided to include him and Olaf below).
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

The All-American College Band has a few weeks left in its run. I stopped by to watch the 3:00pm set.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

No signs of guests by Olaf so I wandered over. Olaf no longer requires a FastPass. They stopped distribution recently. There was no one around so I stopped by to say hi and grab a couple pictures.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

The Dapper Dans of Disneyland wrapping up a performance.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

The Pearly Band posing for a picture during their performance in Fantasyland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

At the French Market in New Orleans Square

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

Stopped by Town Square for the nightly Flag Retreat featuring the All-American College Band and the Dapper Dans this evening.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

A Mariachi Band performing in Frontierland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

A video clip of the Mariachi band.

Because of the filming the College Band audible and performed on Main Street instead of in front of the Castle

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

This weekend is the 45th anniversary reunion weekend for the band. There were some alums enjoying the performances.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

Tomasina performing at the Tomorrowland Terrace

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

The All American College Band performing in Town Square.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

Ron enlisted several alums for the Stevie Wonder medley.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015

The Alums were treated to a seat in the middle of the parade route to watch the pre-parade at 8:15pm.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, July 31, 2015


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.






June 23, 2015

Inside Out Pre-parade at Disney California Adventure

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos of the Disney/Pixar Inside Out pre-parade at Disney California Adventure. The pre-parade started on Friday to coincide with the release of the film. For more from Friday, June 19, 2015 visit the full picture set on my site. I will have a separate posting on the 2015 Disneyland Resort All-American College Band here on Allears.net.


The Pre-Parade made the times guide. Here is how it is listed.

Inside Out Pre-parade

Inside Out pre-parade as it started its first run through the park. This is stepping off at the Parade Gate in Hollywood Land.

Inside Out Pre-parade

Inside Out Pre-parade

All five emotions are on the float. Sadness in front, Joy at the controls, Anger up above, Disgust and Fear are on the back.

Inside Out Pre-parade

Sadness rides on the front of the float.

Inside Out Pre-parade

Anger on the top.

Inside Out Pre-parade

Joy at the controls

Inside Out Pre-parade

Disgust on the back of the float

Inside Out Pre-parade

Fear was clinging to a post on the other side, so I could not get a good picture

Inside Out Pre-parade

Inside Out Pre-parade

Inside Out Pre-parade

I walked through Bugs Land and out to the parade route to get some video of the pre-parade.

Video of the Inside Out Pre-parade. I kept the long lead time so you could hear the dialog track, if you want to see just the float skip ahead a couple of minutes.

To mark the release of the film, Award Wieners in Hollywood Land has some special Inside Out items.

Inside Out Pre-parade

Inside Out Pre-parade

Hope you enjoyed this look at Inside Out 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.


March 24, 2015

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, March 20, 2015.

Starting off on Buena Vista Street this trip. Trolley Treats has some Cinderella inspired offerings.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Grizzly River Run has returned to operation after its annual refurbishment.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Part of the Bay Area is under refurbishment.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

The entrance arch to Paradise Pier is being refurbished.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Over at Disneyland, work continues on Sleeping Beauty Castle. The turrets are in various stages of decorations. They are overlaying the blink/diamonds on top of the existing structure. Much like they do with the snow each holiday season.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Here you can see some of the shinier 60th and some areas that have yet to be covered.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Over on the east side the new tower

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

A closer look at the new tower

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

A closer look at the overlay.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15
Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

The tower on the west side

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

The rest of the Frozen snow has been removed from Fantasyland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Passing over Grizzly Peak Airfield onboard the Monorail.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Most of the scaffolding is down from Small World.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Back to Disney California Adventure. In Paradise Pier where the Maliboomer used to be they have closed the smoking area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

A sign directing smokers to Grizzly Peak.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Now that Smokejumpers Grill has opened the menu at Paradise Garden Grill menu has returned to Mediterranean specialties.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Fountains warming up for their performance this evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Freeze the Night had started for the evening and due to the time change kicks off in the daylight now.

Marshmallow out for pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Some Cinderella merchandise in Elias & Co

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

A few items based on the new live action film

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Back to Disneyland. The Primeval World has returned to the Disneyland Railroad.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

World of Color returned last week. The show is the regular one and will be until May when the new 60th Anniversary Celebrate! show starts.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15

A video clip of the Pocahontas segment from this viewpoint.


The back screens looked sharper. Not sure if it was my position, wind, or new equipment. My guess is a combination of all three.
Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 3/20/15


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.



March 22, 2015

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos taking a quick look at the he Smokejumpers Grill which opened on Friday March 20, 2015.

I have an extended look plus my full pictures set on my site. This dining location replaced the Taste Pilot's Grill. The full project Grizzly Peak Airfield conversion from Condor Flats is not scheduled to be completed until summer. They will be opening pieces as they are finished.

Approaching the new grill from Carthay Circle.

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

Heading toward the front door.

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

A menu preview posted outside.

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

The board on the opposite side of the entrance (this would be the left side as you enter)

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

A closer look at what is posted.

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

Heading inside. Looking toward the ordering area. The configuration is the same as before, just new props, paint, etc... so seating is to the left and right. Cash registers and food pickup straight ahead.

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

Looking to the left some of the props above the seating area and on the wall.

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

The menu is more or less the same. Some new names and a couple tweaks but your standard burgers and chicken remain.

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

Thought the True Life Adventure movie posters were great.

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

The seating area to the right of the registers

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

The Bearpaw Basin patches and logos are throughout

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

The outdoor dining on the Soarin' side is still being worked on. So the door and windows are covered.

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

Walking outside. This is where the engine used to be.

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

I walked by again after dark to see the lights and get some more detailed shots of the interior.

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure


A closer look at some of the props around the dining spaces.

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

I thought the model planes were a great touch.

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

A closer look at the boards in the back of the seating area.

A 1st look at Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure

Hope you enjoyed this first look at the new Smokejumpers Grill in Disney California Adventure. 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.



February 22, 2015

Disneyland Food Reviews

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I wanted to share some of the dining experiences Lee and I have had at the Disneyland resort over the last few months. The big one was the Blue Bayou Fantasmic! Dinner Package, but you can read about that HERE.

We tend to go more for quick service dining than table service...while we have some favorites, we try to sample some different things sometimes...though in looking back over the past few months I see we've mostly stayed with the tried and true. :-)

If you read this blog before, then you probably know that we are really into running Disney races. And of course what we eat before (and after) the races is very important! :-)

Our favorite "night-before-the-race" dinner is the Four Cheese Ravioli from Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta at Disney California Adventure. This restaurant tends not to be as crowded as Redd Rocket's in Disneyland - and the latter doesn't offer ravioli. :-) The ravioli is served with pesto sauce and topped with chopped tomatoes and pine nuts. The cast members serving ask if you want the tomatoes and nuts, so it's easy to omit them. I find this to be about the right portion size for me. I do wish that bread came with it. I have sometimes purchased a loaf from either La Brea Bakery or Pacific Wharf Cafe and brought some pieces with me to dinner.

Disneyland Food Reviews

One note on Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta: it used serve individual flatbread pizzas, but around last September switched to more traditional pizza slices with a thicker crust. Lee was very disappointed in that - he really liked the flatbread pizzas.

But you can still get flatbread pizza at one of our other favorite places: Trader Sam's. Or Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar, to give it the full name! It's located at the Disneyland Hotel next to the pools in a building shared with the Tangaroa Terrace quick-service restaurant. Trader Sam's has seating both inside and out on the patio. To really experience all of the fun things you have to be inside, but there's often quite a line for indoor seating. It's usually faster to eat outside.

Trader Sam's is known for its specialty beverages that are served in various different souvenir tiki glasses (you have the option to purchase the glass to take home if you wish, but you don't have to). I love the names - things like: Hippopoto-Mai tai, Uh-oa (pictured below), Shrunken Zombie Head, and the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum. (Some of the servers will make you say all of that last one when you order it. :-) )

Disneyland Food Reviews

The food is good, too. Some of the items are the same as those at Tangaroa Terrace next door, but some are only at Trader Sam's. One of my favorite Trader Sam's exclusives is the Chicken Lettuce Wraps. This can be most of a dinner for me. The sauce is spicy (but not hot-spicy) and flavorful. You put it together yourself - it comes with 4-5 butter lettuce cups and then you spoon in the chicken, crispy rice noodles, and sauce and roll it all up. It's messy, but good!

Disneyland Food Reviews

Lee's favorite is the Kalua Pork Flatbread, with pulled pork, red onion, and bbq sauce. I agree that this is very tasty!

Disneyland Food Reviews

We also enjoy the Panko-Crusted Chinese Long Beans. I had no idea what these were the first time we ordered them, but they are really good.

Disneyland Food Reviews

Trader Sam's is a table service location. Our experience is that service is often slow, but it's also been very busy when we've been there, and they always seem to be understaffed. I've had good service when I've been able to sit right at the bar.

Once we've finished one of our Disney races we get cleaned up and are ready for a good breakfast. Our favorite park breakfast is Cinnamon Roll French Toast from River Belle Terrace at Disneyland. It's served with scrambled eggs and choice of bacon or sausage. It's really a good amount of food and it tastes great after running a race!

Disneyland Food Reviews

Another popular choice at River Belle Terrace is the Mark Twain: scrambled eggs, potatoes, biscuit, and choice of bacon or sausage. I don't like the potatoes because there's peppers in them, but they'll substitute extra bacon or sausage for the potatoes.

Disneyland Food Reviews

Flo's V8 Cafe in Cars Land offers some different breakfast items. It's not my top choice, but if we're eating there I usually get the Chicken Tamale with scrambled eggs, salsa verde, and pico de gallo. The tamale is good but the eggs at Flo's have a weird consistency - they seem to be cooked in big casserole pans and they don't really seem like scrambled eggs.

Disneyland Food Reviews

The Brioche French Toast is more like a bread pudding. It's served with salted caramel sauce and bananas, and it's very sweet - too sweet for me.

Disneyland Food Reviews

There's also the traditional American Breakfast with scrambled eggs, potatoes, biscuit, and choice of bacon or sausage. Again, the eggs are a bit odd, and they also put peppers in the potatoes. This is a decent-sized breakfast, at least, whereas I find the tamale and French Toast to be not quite enough food for me.

Disneyland Food Reviews

I really like sandwiches, and Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney makes some very good ones - including breakfast sandwiches. I really enjoy their seasonal holiday turkey sandwich, with cranberries, stuffing, and gravy. Earl of Sandwich is a very popular place and the line is usually long, though they move people through pretty efficiently.

But we were talking breakfast. The last time we were there we both ordered the bacon, egg, and cheddar breakfast sandwich (though I requested Swiss instead of cheddar). The sandwich was good but not great. It's also about half the size of their regular sandwiches, so keep that in mind. Of course the price is lower, too - $3.99.

Disneyland Food Reviews

One of our favorite afternoon spots is the Alfresco Tasting Terrace at the Golden Vine Winery in Disney California Adventure. It's open very limited hours, though - doesn't open until 2:00 in the afternoon, and sometimes is only open on the weekends. The seating area is outdoors, and while it's covered with an open lattice-style patio cover, it's not totally shaded, and can be very warm. There's really a wonderful view from some of the tables, though, and it's a very relaxed and quiet spot.

Disneyland Food Reviews

The Disney Family of Wines is featured there: all of the wines that are offered are from wineries with some kind of Disney connection. So that includes wines from Diane Disney Miller's Silverado Vineyards, Kurt Russell's GoGi, the Lasseter Family Winery, and Fess Parker Winery, among others. Wines can be purchased by the glass or as part of designated wine flights (no substitutions in the wine flights).

They also serve a selection of appetizers inspired by wine country. These are upscale offerings, things like Beef Tenderloin Sliders and a Charcuterie and Cheese Board.

Disneyland Food Reviews

One of our favorites is the Aged Cheddar Risotto Bites. Balls of risotto and cheese, rolled in something crunchy and deep-fried. Not at all healthy, but SO good! They come with two dipping sauces - a garlic-herb aioli and a marinara. The marinara is more like a very flavorful tomato chutney. I love it - I'll eat it by the spoonful after all of the risotto bites are gone.

Disneyland Food Reviews

Our other favorite is the Flatbread Two Ways. Have you noticed the flatbread theme in our dining choices? :-) I think this is supposed to be seasonal, but we've had it three times over the last 6 months and it's always been the same - not that we're complaining, because we like it! It's a half-and-half - one half is fig, arugula, and apple sticks, drizzled with balsamic, and the other half is tomato, olive, and crisp prosciutto. Really good.

Disneyland Food Reviews

While the wines and beverages are served quickly here (the bar is on the terrace), the kitchen tends to be very slow. The last time we were there our order got messed up - another table, who had arrived after us, but apparently ordered the same thing, received it. Our server wasn't paying much attention to us and didn't know it until we asked her what was taking so long. We got lots of apologies, and one of our appetizers was comped, but it was not a very good experience. Had it been our first time there, we might not have returned.

Also at the Golden Vine Winery is the Mendocino Wine Bar. Lots of different wines available by the glass - a much larger selection than at the Alfresco Lounge upstairs. If I'm indulging I usually order one of the sparkling wines, like a prosecco or the Rosa Regale. A somewhat small (and I think overpriced) cheese and fruit box is the only food option. There's some outdoor seating available there on the patio between the Wine Country Trattoria and the Blue Sky Cellar.

Disneyland Food Reviews

If I'm just looking for something sweet...Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop is my first choice. You get a chocolate sample just for walking in, though lately they've switched to their "minis" rather than the full-size chocolate squares. Of course there's all kinds of treats on the menu here - ice cream sundaes, cones, milkshakes and floats, cookies and brownies, hot and cold coffee beverages, and several types of hot cocoa, too. My favorite is the Midnight Reverie sundae: chocolate ice cream, dark chocolate fudge sauce, semi-sweet chocolate chips, whipped cream and a cherry. Oh, and a dark chocolate square on top. Heaven if you love dark chocolate! I've always found the service here to be pretty quick. The only time it wasn't was a very cold evening when almost everyone was ordering hot coffee and cocoa, and they just couldn't make them fast enough.

Disneyland Food Reviews

Another sweet indulgence is the Mickey-head Beignets from the Mint Julep Bar in Disneyland. The regular ones are good, but I prefer to get them in the fall when there are usually pumpkin or gingerbread beignets available. The last time we got these we had a long wait - we were in line for 10 minutes just to order, and then had to wait another 10-15 minutes for our beignets. They were really good, but maybe not quite worth that much of a wait. One word of warning: Do Not Inhale! You can't actually breathe powdered sugar. :-)

Disneyland Food Reviews

One snack item that I haven't tried but I have to mention: the Crunchy Snowman Veggie Cup, available for $3.99 at some of the fruit stands. It's got slices of jicama, black olives, carrots, and celery, and a cup of ranch dressing.

Disneyland Food Reviews

I had an early dinner at Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe in Disneyland recently. I tried their Specialty of the House - Jolly Holiday Combo - a toasted cheese sandwich with tomato basil soup and a small side salad. Now, when you call something a "specialty of the house", I have higher expectations, so I was very disappointed in this. The sandwich was only barely warm and the cheese was definitely not melted - just a little bit soft. I enjoyed the soup and the salad was also very good - it had feta, spiced pecans, tomatoes, and craisins on top of the greens.

Disneyland Food Reviews

We had lunch at the Carthay Circle Restaurant a couple of months ago. The menu there changes seasonally, so what I enjoyed is probably not still on the menu, but is still an example of the types of selections that are available. I started with the Carthay Autumn Salad - mizuna, pears, spiced pecans, and a charred orange vinaigrette. It was very good.

Disneyland Food Reviews

I also ordered the Carthay Soup of the Season - roasted apples with wild rice, kohlrabi, Nueske's ham and duck confit. I couldn't tell you what kohlrabi is, or what it tastes like, but I really liked the soup. Lots of interesting flavors, so maybe one of those was the kohlrabi. :-)

Disneyland Food Reviews

Lee ordered the Carthay 8 oz Angus Burger - with cheddar cheese, pepper bacon and grilled onions. It's served with French fries. Lee says it was a really good burger - and I thought the fries were excellent.

Disneyland Food Reviews

It was a very nice dining experience - it's a beautiful restaurant, and doesn't feel like it's in the middle of a theme park.

If you've dined at these or any other Disneyland Resort restaurants, please share your experiences in our Rate and Review section.


February 2, 2015

Cinderella Sneak Peek -& Boudin Bakery Tour Reopens

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, January 30, 2015. In this posting a look at the recent additions to Disney California Adventure. First up a look at the exclusive sneak peek of the upcoming Cinderella film. The movie opens in theaters on March 12. Then a look at the newly reopened Boudin Bakery Tour in the Pacific Wharf. I have a separate posting looking at the renovation projects around both parks and the hotels. Or you can visit my full picture set on my site disneygeek.com

As you walk down the parade route in Disney California Adventure there are banners directing you to the Cinderella Sneak Peek in the "Bugs Life" theater.

Cinderella Sneak Peek

Cinderella Sneak Peek

The sign reminds me of the Maleficent sign.

Cinderella Sneak Peek

The waiting area inside has nothing about the film...well I guess the background music may have been from it...but I do not recall now what was playing. It was not the regular Bugs music.

Cinderella Sneak Peek

The preview itself is in 2D and just under 10 minutes. It features the transformation scene and a couple montages of other clips. No video, pictures, or recording allowed during the screening.

Cinderella Sneak Peek

In the Pacific Wharf the Boudin Bakery Tour re-opened this past week. (Laura adds: I went through this area Wednesday evening so will add some of my comments.)

Cinderella Sneak Peek

You can now enter through either the traditional entrance or the exit. If you use the regular entrance there is still a cast member passing out bread samples. (Laura adds: The tour also makes more sense if you use the regular entrance since it starts at the beginning of the bread-making process.)

Cinderella Sneak Peek

Stepping inside it is much more open now. It's a self-guided tour now so the large door is gone and you can see right into the bakery.

Cinderella Sneak Peek

The original introduction video with Colin Mochrie and Rosie O'Donnell remains. (Laura adds: The other videos inside have been removed and replaced with signs.)

Cinderella Sneak Peek

Cinderella Sneak Peek

Here is a look at the video.

There are informational displays to read along the way, which replaced the videos.

Cinderella Sneak Peek

Cinderella Sneak Peek

Time to head into the bakery area.

Cinderella Sneak Peek

An interactive Q&A has been added to the Mother Dough area (as well as new signage throughout). (Laura adds: I played with this when I went through. It's all true/false questions. Who knew there was so much sourdough bread trivia?)

Cinderella Sneak Peek

The bakery itself looks the same. The screens are removed and some new signage are the main changes that stood out.

Cinderella Sneak Peek
Cinderella Sneak Peek

Cinderella Sneak Peek

Cinderella Sneak Peek

Cinderella Sneak Peek

Cinderella Sneak Peek

The wall opposite the bakery.

Cinderella Sneak Peek

Cinderella Sneak Peek

Some limited indoor seating has been added along the wall too. So you can eat and watch them bake. (Laura adds: I predict that these tables will be very popular, especially on cool days. They were empty when I was there since the Pacific Wharf Cafe is currently closed for refurbishment.)

Cinderella Sneak Peek

Cinderella Sneak Peek

Looking back before walking out.

Cinderella Sneak Peek


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.



January 13, 2015

Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, January 9. 2015.

In this posting I will take a look at the "Freeze the Night," which is part of the Frozen Fun that runs through April 30. Freeze the Night event that takes place each evening in the Hollywood Land Backlot area. I have separate postings from this trip on the Frozen Fun area and Royal Theatre Show in the Fantasy Faire, plus my regular park updates. As always you can see the full picture set on my site disneygeek.com.

On Buena Vista Street the Frozen Fun photo op at night.

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

Entering the Frozen Fun area of Hollywood Land

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

Freeze the Night begins with a DJ.

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

A dance team called the Ice Breakers takes the stage

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

Our hosts for the evening.

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

A video clip of the opening of Freeze the Night on Friday.

Snow projection effects on Monsters Inc.

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

To the right of the Monsters Inc area where the House of Cards Dance Floor was for the Mad T Party is an interactive dance floor and beyond that Marshallow was out for pictures.

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure
 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure
 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

Here is a closer look at some of the dance floor projections.

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure
The dance floor was tracking your footprints.
 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

Marshmallow out for pictures at Freeze the Night

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

To help you judge the scale, note the adults in the background and a young Elsa posing with him.

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

Next to him is a play/game area.

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

Stage 12 has ice/snow projections

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

The House of Ice had a steady line.

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

Ice Carving took place on the Hollywood Backlot Stage. Here is the first creation of the evening underway.

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

This was more etching than carving...

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

She then went to work on the back side doing some more serious carving.

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

She finished the first ice sculpture.

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

A check of the temperature with some help by Marshmallow

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

Some snowfall

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

Ice creation number two underway. Elsa was etched into one side first. Then she went to work on the back side again.

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

Any guesses what this will be?

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

Jumping ahead here is the finished product OLAF!

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

A picture of the Freeze the Night Let It Go performance.

 Freeze the Night - Disney California Adventure

Video of the Let it Go performance.

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.


January 12, 2015

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, January 9. 2015.

In this posting I will take a look at the Frozen Fun that runs through April 30. Pieces of this event have been open since December -- Arendelle was added to Storybook Land back on December 19 and there were soft openings of the other components over the days that followed. I covered Storybook Land in my December 19 postings. Below you will find pictures/video of the Hollywood Land changes for the event and the Sing-Along. I will have separate postings on the Freeze the Night event and Royal Theatre Show in the Fantasy Faire, plus my regular park updates. As always you can see the full picture set on my site disneygeek.com.

Frozen has arrived in a big way at the Disneyland Resort! As I reached the Disneyland Resort I spotted this banner featuring the Frozen characters on the Mickey and Friends exit ramp.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun billboards at the Tram Stop

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun banners in Downtown Disney

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun ads on the ticket booths replacing the traditional annual pass holder ads.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun banners at the DCA entrance.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun has taken over the DCA Guidemap and times guide too.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The Christmas tree is gone and in its place is a Frozen Fun photo op.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Most of the Christmas decorations are down on Hollywood Blvd and Frozen Fun banners have taken their place on the lamp posts.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun has taken over the Backlot area, too.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

And Frozen has moved into the Animation Building.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Further down the street you can get FastPass tickets to meet Anna and Elsa.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The House of Ice bar (used for Freeze the Night in the evenings)

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The dance stage from the House of Cards is gone and in its place is this open dance floor. The food truck has a Frozen wrap on it.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The menu for the food truck.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The face painting is still there but now there are Frozen choices.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The main stage for Freeze the Night. No band, just a DJ platform.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The Ice Box bar

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The menu for the Ice Box

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The Muppets have been removed and now the venue is called the Crown Jewel Theatre, featuring a Frozen Sing-Along.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Evergreens were brought into the area.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

You can also get a FastPass for the Sing-Along at these unmarked machines.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

What the FastPass looks like

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Next door in Stage 17 is the Snow Fest, but it was closed this afternoon for some reason. The Cast Members did not know why or would not share, and there was no ETA on reopening when I asked.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The Muppet store is now the Wandering Oaken's Trading Post. They have removed the large counter so you can now walk into/through the store.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

And a lot of merchandise is outside the store.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Inside above the merchandise are some props.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

A cart selling leather goods with engraving.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The signage at the Animation Building has had a Frozen update

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The building received some sort of wrap along the walkways.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Inside you are greeted with signage for the meet and greet.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

A queue for the Animation Academy.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Anna & Elsa have moved into the Character Close-Up area.

As seems the new norm you cannot see the characters unless you go through. Walls are up forming some rooms in the area now. There were FastPasses available, but unfortunately the one I received was for a time I could not visit. So no pictures from me this trip of the inside.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Off the Page (last trip I looked at the Frozen merchandise there if you are interested check out my 12/19 pictures set)

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Another view of the Trading Post

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Banners are hung over the props as you enter the theater. (Note I used standby and was one of the last people in so I could not really stop to take pictures. The Cast Members kept pushing me along because they wanted to close the doors and start the show.)

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Inside all traces of the Muppets appeared to be gone (but I was walking fairly quickly and trying to snap a few pictures so I may have missed something).

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The waiting area looks quite different now. This is all I saw of it before being hurried into the first door.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Inside I ended up with a seat in the back but toward the middle. It was a full house. Maybe a dozen empty seats scattered around that I could see.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The theater has new projections and some new decorations.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Show time -- the penguin pit is covered and there is a stage in front of the projection screen now.

One of two historians that narrate the show and fill in the plot details and some comic relief between the songs.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland


Anna made a quick appearance

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The second historian is introduced.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

A couple clips to get an idea of the flow of the show.


Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

The side projections/lighting change from time to time

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

A wider shot of the theatre

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

For the finale Kristoff and Anna return, and Elsa joins them.

And of course an encore of Let it Go for the finale. No words needed for this Sing-Along.

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Frozen Fun at Disneyland

Here is a video clip of the finale.

The Snow Fest was still closed. Olaf was greeting guests just inside the exit doors. This was the best shot I could get of him. The wait was 45 minutes. (Later in the evening it was 90.)

Frozen Fun at Disneyland


This wraps up my first look at the Frozen Fun activities. Hope you enjoyed it. 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.



November 22, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14, Part 2

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, November 14, 2014, the first weekend for all of the holiday decorations and activities at Disneyland.

Returning to Disney California Adventure. The window of Off the Page.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Inside the Animation building the Character Close-up area is closed. Internet rumor is the Frozen sisters will be moving in here.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Time for the Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

A couple clips from their performance.

One more clip from their performance.

Viva Navidad! has returned to Paradise Gardens. The Street Party was in full swing when I arrived in the area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Viva Navidad offerings

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Goofy was out for pictures when I walked by.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The 2014 logo on merchandise.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

This Route 66 sign along the parade route seems new to me. It is hung like the snow flakes.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Time for the lights and neon to come on along Route 66. This week Winter Wonderland was played.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

This evening Santa Mater rolled by as the event was happening.

The setting sun and new Route 66 sign, notice the snow flake lights in the background.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The citizens of Buena Vista Street gathering for the tree lighting.
The event was the same as the last couple years.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Here is a video from last year of the Tree Lighting.

The Christmas tree in Town Square lit up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

A Christmas Fantasy Parade making its way up the parade route.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

If you were interested here is a look at this section from the old Very Merry Christmas Parade. I recorded this in December 1993.

As expected the jungle does not have a lot of lights...so the pictures are not very good.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The villagers had the generator they found going so their lights were on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The projection show from last year has returned to Small World Holiday.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

I returned to Main Street for Sleeping Beauty Castle Wintertime Enchantment. Here is a video I took last year of the show. It appeared to be the same this year.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Some Hanukkah items for sale.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Over to Buena Vista Street and Trolley Treats. Holiday cookies.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

A look around Carthay Circle this evening.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The Mad T Party Band was performing when I arrived. They are concluding their sets with holiday/snow songs and snow fall.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The Mad T Party Band finale from 2012 leading to snow fall.

Snow Flakes lead the way to Paradise Pier.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Time for the 2014 edition of World of Color Winter Dreams.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

It now features more Frozen. Included is Do you want to build a snowman?

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Here is a video clip of the opening.

Olaf is still the host.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

There seemed to be more of Tinker Bell and her friends in the video this year.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

A clip from the middle of the show.

Big Hero 6 made the clips package this year. Here are Baymax and Hiro.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

In Summer has a new finale

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Santa Mater

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Here is a video clip of the new Frozen additions and it runs through the finale.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

After the finale for the exit music they use a studio recording of Glow (the song that opened the show last year)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

A brief clip as I was exiting the park.


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.



November 21, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14, Part 1

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, November 14, 2014, the first weekend for all of the holiday decorations and activities at Disneyland.

There is a lot going on, so this update has been split into two parts.

I arrived at the Disneyland Resort before park opening Friday and spent a full day, staying until after World of Color, so I clocked in around 14 hours at the parks.

First stop today Disney California Adventure. I was in the park just after 8:30am, it did not open until 9:00am so had some time to roam around Buena Vista Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Walked through Condor Flats. Soarin' was open, with a 10 minute posted wait, no signs of a line yet and the area was nice and quiet.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Picked up a FastPass for World of Color Winter Dreams then made my way over to Disneyland. The Christmas tree and garland are both up this week.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Main Street was alive with activity. Cars, people, horses all moving about.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The sky looked threatening.. it drizzled on the drive to the park, but no rain the entire day.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

A video of my ride through Snow White's Scary Adventures.

Next up Pinocchio's Daring Journey

Passed through Frontierland on my way to Adventureland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The Jingle Cruise has returned for its second year.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Signs up in the queue explaining the reason for all the jingle in the attraction.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Looking up river this year there are more decorations. Here you can see garlands in the jungle.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Here is a video of our trip.

A couple pictures from the trip, the tiger has gotten into some of the shipment.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

More of the lost shipment down near the elephant bathing pool.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The family of baboons found the hats and boots.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Down in the camp the gorillas were trying to bake some holiday treats

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The African Elephants managed to decorate themselves a little.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The outdoor decorations found their way into Africa.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The lions enjoying the reindeer.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The villagers found Christmas lights.

And a generator.

As well as some Christmas sweaters.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Trader Sam ready to celebrate the new year.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Went for a cruise on Small World Holiday. Here is the Europe room.

A video clip of the Latin America room - Feliz Navidad

Hiro and Baymax are now greeting guests in the Starcade.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Mickey and the gang arriving in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Some of the characters boarded the fire truck for a ride to Town Square.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The Big Thunder Ranch is hosting the Jingle Jangle Jamboree again this year.

Here are a couple video clips of the new melodrama: The Plight Before Christmas.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Mrs. Claus Tasty Treats menu

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Mickey in his holiday gear.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Santa was back in his seat meeting guests.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Chip in his gingerbread outfit.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Dale in his matching outfit.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Pluto pulled up a bench to color for a while.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Stopped for lunch at the Stage Door Cafe and picked a table with a great view of the Rivers of America.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Jack and Sally out for pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

A walk through Critter Country to check out the Christmas decorations.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The Dapper Dans of Disneyland performing on Main Street USA.

The Town Square Christmas tree

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Mickey signing autographs in Town Square in his holiday sweater.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Walked through Downtown Disney.

The winter village is set up in front of the AMC as well as Earl of Sandwich.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The Christmas tree sits in the middle of the ice rink again this year.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Olaf was stationed near his ice rink

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The hat near the Disneyland Hotel received a new color scheme recently.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

This weekend is the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon. This is the finish line.

The 5K was Saturday morning and Sunday is the half marathon. Laura will have a full report from the race festivities so I will skip them in this posting.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Part 2 features photos from Viva Navidad and some of the nighttime activities, like World of Color Winter Dreams, and Sleeping Beauty Castle Winter Enchantment.

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.



November 14, 2014

Holidaytime at Disneyland

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November 13th marked this year's arrival of the holiday season to the Disneyland Resort!

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To kick it off, the ceremonial lighting of "it's a small world" took place, presided over by the Gallardo Family. Their daughter Maya had battled acute myelogenous leukemia when she was 16 months old, but was ultimately cured by a stem cell transplant from her older brother Aaron.

Afterwards, the family was joined by their Pediatric Hematologist, Dr. Rosenthal.

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Later, the "A Christmas Fantasy" parade ran for its 20th year, celebrating its anniversary with the addition of "Frozen" princesses Anna and Elsa.

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Finally, over at Disney California Adventure, a newly-reworked version of last year's "World of Color - Winter Dreams" opened with an increased "Frozen" presence, as the songs "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" and "Love is an Open Door" were added into the spectacle.

In addition to these holiday offerings, there is a plethora of returning entertainment around the two parks:

Disneyland
--Jingle Jangle Jamboree in Big Thunder Ranch
--Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle
--"Believe...in Holiday Magic" fireworks
--Haunted Mansion Holiday
--Jingle Cruise
--"Holiday Time at the Disneyland Resort" guided tour

Disney California Adventure

--"Disney ¡Viva Navidad!"
--Classic department store Santa at Elias & Co.
--Holiday version of "Mad T Party"
--Seasonal makeovers to Cars Land, "a bug's land," and Buena Vista Street

Downtown Disney
--"Olaf's Frozen Ice Rink"
--Downtown Disney Winter Village
--Gingerbread House in the Grand Californian

Happy Holidays!

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September 21, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, September 19, 2014.

Some work going on along the tram way near the structure. Was not affecting service this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

At the Downtown Disney stop they have finished the repaving and all four stops were available today.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Oswald now greets guests on Buena Vista Street throughout the day.

There were only a couple groups in line so I stopped by to say hi.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Some Halloween Treats at Trolley Treats

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Officer Calvin Blue escorting Donna the Dog Lady down Buena Vista Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The Fall Edition of the Buena Vista Bugle is hot off the presses this week.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Was walking down the parade route and noticed the Racers FastPass sign still showed availability...cannot remember ever getting one after lunch on a regular day.

A rare afternoon Racers FastPass

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Continuing on Flik's lost its Fun.. well its sign at least. Also notice on the left the large trees are gone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

In their place smaller ones have been planted.

Same on the other side near the entrance

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The area looks much more open now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The Cozy Cone Halloween Time special item. A pumpkin twist.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Only a 35 minute stand by wait this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

We lost in the final turn - - Radiator Springs Racers

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Work continues in the Wharf dining area. The walls have moved to the left from last week.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

No visible progress on this project.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

At the Fly 'n Buy shop the Planes merchandise has moved inside. So the outside area is empty again.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The center of the Esplanade is walled off. Looks like they are working on the compass in the middle.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The fence and curb around this planter near City Hall have been removed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

It appears they enlarged the planter and redid the sprinkler lines (assuming that the dirt here shows the old planter edge)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The Photo Supply store scaffolding is removed and the facade painting looks to be wrapping up. It is still closed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The work near the walkway to the Castle is still ongoing.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Wonder if this is the final state of the bridge work. Thought maybe the shields would return.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

In the Space Mountain exit area they have added some panels to the area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The subs return to service next week. For now though the area was peaceful to walk through.

No signs of the seagulls yet.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Somehow I did not look up last week...Some Halloween decorations as you enter Toontown.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Stopped by the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree to check out the latest pumpkin creations. This cast member made both the Hatbox Ghost and Small World pumpkins. She was working on Maleficent.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Anna, Elsa and Olaf from Frozen

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

This week a different magician (I missed his name) He did more sleight of hand tricks plus some traditional like a rabbit out of the hat or one with baby chickens.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Anna and Elsa passing by while I was eating... wrong lens and setting on the camera though.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

A special performance later today.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The Disneyland Band arriving for the nightly Flag Retreat ceremony. They are wearing their Halloween orange uniforms.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

An Emporium Window highlighting Frozen merchandise.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

It was announced today that the Legends of Frontierland will be ending its run on September 27th.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

A piece of paper posted on the map today.

Some announcements about the Legends of Frontierland listing some of the activities today.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

It was just after 5pm and the Hoedown was underway as I passed the Golden Horseshoe Miss Lilly was out dancing with guests.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Farley and Billy were providing the music.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The Stage Door Cafe was closed for renovation.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Walked through the French Market.

The Halloween Time offering.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The Popcorn Cart in New Orleans Square has a Zero Doghouse popcorn bucket this year.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The walkway by Fowlers Harbour is open this week.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The entrance to the Winnie the Pooh queue is surrounded by scaffolding.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The Hungry Bear Halloween Time offerings

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The Jolly Holiday Bakery Halloween Time offering.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The Dapper Dans

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

The West Point Brass performing their "theme song" the Magnificent Seven. They played it at every stop.

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Main Street was busy as usual as the sun was setting.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Taste Pilots Halloween Time offerings

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Stopped by the final set of the night of the Mad T Party Band.

During Halloween Time each set they add a little more to their costume and makeup leading to the final set and a Thriller Finale.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/19/14

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.



September 17, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, September 12, 2014.

Along with your parking receipt on Friday you were given a button featuring Elsa from Once Upon a Time.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The first load/unload are at the Mickey & Friends tram stop in Downtown Disney was fenced off. A repaving project is wrapping up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Downtown Disney banners. One side has Cars Land, the other side Halloween Time. Speaking of Halloween Time it started Friday. I posted a separate set of pictures from Friday with those pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

First stop Disneyland.

More scaffolding and wraps up on Main Street. So most of the East side of the block is under wraps.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The Castle Bros. sign has returned.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The Photo Supply Co exterior is being renovated. Both the exterior and the interior of this store (the others just the exterior).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

A large tree has been removed from between Coke Corner and Jolly Holiday. It has been replaced with a smaller one. (on the right).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Some work going on as you walk toward the castle. Looks like the seating areas are being redone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The bridge has been rebuilt since my last visit.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The Frozen queue was small, they have started a new ticketing system. Tickets with return times are distributed to minimize your wait. These are gone close to park opening and were long gone when I arrived.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The outdoor vending carts are gone while some work is going on near the old Skyway station in Fantasyland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Big Thunder was quiet this afternoon, only a 10-minute wait posted.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Friday was Dapper Day so there were groups of Dapper guests everywhere. Here are some strolling through Frontierland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The Mark Twain is in dry dock for several weeks of work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

They have the walkway blocked off as you approach Fowlers Harbour. Guessing this is a staging area for the Mark Twain work?

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The cost to grab a bite to eat at Disneyland has gone up at most locations. For exmple, the Harbour Galley Menu, prices up between 40 cents to a dollar compared to May 30th.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The Royal Courtyard is blocked off. They have removed the merchandise location as well as the stairs. Here you can see the outline of where the stairs were.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

A large tree was removed and replaced with a smaller one to the left of the Jungle Cruise entrance.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Umbrellas were in style with many of the Dapper Day guests.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Small World is undergoing some facade work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Roger Rabbit has returned atop the fountain in Toontown.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Dumbo only had a 10-minute wait posted.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Most of the walls are down from around the Sub Lagoon and there were subs cycling when I walked by.

They reopen the 27th, only 2 more weeks.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Plaza Inn, interesting the fried chicken stayed the same but Pot Roast and Pasta both went up compared to the May 30th menu.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The Sherman Brothers have replaced Miley Cyrus on the Spirit of Celebration area at the exit to Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Over to Buena Vista Street. Plenty of Dapper Day guests here too. A large line by Oswalds. Speaking of Oswald he started appearing in the park on Sunday.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Dapper Day guests

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Only a 13-minute wait for Tower of Terror

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Cars Land was fairly quiet too. The Flying Tires and Junkyard Jamboree were walk-ons.

Only 45 min standby for the Racers

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Stopped by Ghirardelli. Some Halloween candy for sale (they were still passing out caramel minis)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Pumpkin shaped bread at the Pacific Wharf Cafe.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Gluten free dessert options plus Halloween Time seasonal Bread Pudding (for more of the seasonal offerings check out my separate Halloween Time section).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Some work in the seating area of the Wharf

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Paradise Park was full of guests, it was a Dapper meet of some sort.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The Duffy photo area in Paradise Pier has been removed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Looks like the digital download test is complete at Screamin'.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta no longer serves flatbreads.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Instead just individual slices, like the Pizza Port

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

If you have the urge to buy a character tail they now sell them in several stores..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The Grand Californian exterior work is complete.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Some of the rafts coming down Grizzly River Run were really spinning on Friday, like the first one in this short clip, but others like the second not so much.

The Corn Dog Wagon prices are up too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Elvis, Scot Bruce, performing at the Tomorrowland Terrace this evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The lights were on in the sub lagoon and a couple subs moving around.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Guardians of the Galaxy was lit up even though it was closed. No projections or audio on Ghost Galaxy when I was there.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The Ghost Galaxy sign.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The closed sign for the Magic Eye theater.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Fantasmic - No dragon this evening. Just Maleficent on her tower.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

And with the Mark Twain in dry dock the characters were all the stage for the finale.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

Made it to Main Street for Remember Dreams Come True which is running on weekends until the holidays.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

The tram stop paving project. Guessing new concrete under the plastic

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14

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.



February 2, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, January 31, 2014.

This weekend the Disneyland Resort is celebrating the Lunar New Year, year of the horse. Festivities take place at Paradise Gardens in Disney California Adventure from 11am to 5pm Fri-Sun. Downtown Disney also has events going on from 5pm-9pm.

Approaching Pardise Gardens.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

The decorations lined the parade route, the entire length of the gardens area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Mulan's Chinese New Year Procession featured a horse

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

And of course Mulan and Mushu

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

After the procession guest performing groups took to the street. First up was one from the Korean Dance Institute.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

The horse was out for photos for a while after each procession.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Bayside Brews had a couple special items for the event.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

There was also an outdoor vending cart decked out for the occasion.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

The cart's offerings.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

The Pork Bao

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Year of the Horse Shaped Sourdough Bread

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Some of the performers from the procession were out interacting with guests.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Mulan and Mushu were in a meet and greet location.

Mickey and Minnie rotated with them at the location (also I read Chip and Dale did too, but I did not see them).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year


Signs to help you find what year you were born in.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year


The Bandstand stage featured guest performing groups throughout the day.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

A video clip of a drum solo.

There seemed to be a fair amount of custom signage and decorations for the event this year.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

One small area of the merchandise stand near the Corn Dog Castle featured some items for Lunar New Year.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Some boards describing how some of the cultures celebrate the event.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

An area set up for New Year Wishes.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

In the back of the area were tables with Chinese Brush Painting & Calligraphy

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

There was an arts and crafts area too. The line for the meet and greet wrapped around it (it starts on the left, goes up to the area, then off to the right near Goofy's Sky School and doubles back).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

A guest performing group doing a traditional Lion Dance.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

A video clip of the Lion Dance.

A video clip of the Mulan Procession.

Downtown Disney was also celebrating Lunar New Year. There were special menu offerings at some of the restaurants.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

The main stage was to feature guest performing groups for Lunar New Year this evening.

First up is Dance Impressions Productions.

A video clip of the introduction and Dragon Dance.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

A ribbon dance.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year


Video clips of a couple of groups of young kids dancing at the Lunar New Year Celebration in Downtown Disney.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year


Another group.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year

A lion dance


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/31/14 - Lunar New Year


Hope you enjoyed this highlight look at the Lunar New Year Celebration 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.



November 21, 2013

World of Color, "Winter Dreams" Debuts!

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The big event of the Disneyland Resort's holiday season is the all-new holiday version of World of Color, "Winter Dreams."

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Hosted by Olaf, the Snowman from the upcoming film "Frozen," it's an extravaganza of light, and music and water. Starting off with a virtual choir made up of hundreds of guests who recorded themselves singing "Glow" with their webcams, it includes scenes from "Bambi," "Secret of the Wings," and a production of "Nutcracker," starring the Toy Story gang.

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The production also spotlights two numbers from "Frozen," including Elsa's song "Let it Go," and Olaf's song "In Summer."

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Not only programmed with new content, the technical side of the show has been updated as well, with ultra high-definition projectors expected to be four times sharper than the original World of Color projectors, and the addition of over 700 high-power LED lights lining California Screamin'.

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Here's a video of just some of the highlights featured in the new show:

At the premiere, Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, was there to introduce the new show and answer a few questions afterwards.

November 13, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, November 8, 2013.

This posting takes a look at Disney California Adventure.

Time to visit DCA.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Buena Vista Street is all decorated and alive with Holiday cheer.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Too bad they did not switch out the Big Top Toys window.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

The Buena Vista Street tree.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Santa is back in Elias and Co. Of course he was taking a break when I walked by.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure


The Animation Building lobby is still closed.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Noticed Olaf made the schedule of characters you can learn to draw at the Animation Academy.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Is this Santa and reindeer new? I did not remember them.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure


The Flyers are still being worked on.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

The entrance to Fliks

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Some holiday merchandise in Cars Land.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure


Waiting for the lights to come on.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Time for the lights to come on.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

This year I just enjoyed the show, but here is a video from last year to give you a sampling of the event.

Then I walked quickly to Buena Vista Street for the tree lighting. Since I was late I was not in a good spot.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Here is a video from last year, this year is the same more or less.


11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Was curious if the Mad T Party added any Christmas songs to the set, they had not yet.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Passed through Cars Land again.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

The blue cones are back again this season.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Santa Mater making his way to the Cozy Cone

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

The Wharf lights

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Paradise Park was nice and quiet.. only one World of Color at 9:45pm tonight and it was approaching 7.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Several large boxes are in the planters around the park for the upcoming World of Color Winter Dreams show that premieres Thursday.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Paradise Garden will be celebrating Viva Navidad this holiday season.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

The Paradise Grill has a new menu for the season, Greek is out, Mexican is in.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta also has special offerings.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure


Screamin has received new lights for World of Color Winter Dreams, bringing back memories of Luminaria. This time around the lights look more substantial though.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

And they took the time to make them blend in.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure


Some Holiday shirts at Sideshow Shirts

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Back from its renovation.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Stopped by Sarges

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

And Flos

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Missed Santa again.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

Walked through Elias and Company.

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure

11/08/13 - Disney California Adventure


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.



October 20, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, October 18, 2013.

We start off on Main Street USA today. The Penny Arcade and Candy Palace renovation work is ongoing.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Inside the windows/doors are covered.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Some of the Halloween treats.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Christmas preparations are underway around both parks. The lights are up in the trees around the hub.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

The fall protection wall work on the left side of the Castle is complete.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Tiana greeting guests on the way into Fantasy Faire

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

A railing has been added on top of the new wall on the trail between Frontierland and Fatntasy Faire. I was disappointed to see the seating/ledge is gone. So it means no place to sit and relax anymore.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Cast Members by the exit of Pirates to issue return times to guests as part of the new Disability Access Service Card (DAS) system. (Please see AllEars' Special Needs Overview page for additional information.)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

The Court of Angels is walled off as work is underway to convert it for Club 33 use. Another part of Disneyland is now off limits to regular guests.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

The L'Ornament Magique is also closed and will be the new Club entrance from what I have read.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Some renovation work further down the street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

A Limited Time Magic Cookie option at several New Orleans Square locations, including Mint Julep Bar and the snack cart near Haunted Mansion.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

A podium near the entrance to the Haunted Mansion to request a DAS return time and ask questions.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

The Hungry Bear has a holiday special going on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Another Guest Relations DAS kiosk near the Harbor Galley.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Jack was out for pictures near the Rivers of America.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Next stop the Halloween Carnival.

Pluto playing the ring toss/hat toss game.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Some of the latest pumpkin creations/artwork.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13


The new castle walls/fall protection projects look to be done.

A new turret on the roof.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13


A new turret.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13
The carrousel is completely under wraps now as the work continues. It is scheduled to return to service in early November.
Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Random Toad Hall pictures as I walked by.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Another Guest Relations podium, this time in Fantasyland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

The Mad Tea Party is closed for renovation.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

The facade for Small World is receiving its holiday lights. It will be closing soon for the annual transformation.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Some work on the monorail beamway, they are adding the overhang under the track. Interesting since this is over the old motorboat area and is not guest accessible.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

The Monorail is still operating during the project.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13


Another new DAS kiosk, this one in Tomorrowland. The pin trading tables that were in the area are now gone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Christmas has arrived. As you exit the park two of the racks are full of Christmas items now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Over to DCA. The Fall/Halloween Buena Vista Bugle is on News Stands.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

They are renovating the main lobby of the Animation Building, so it is blocked off. The Animation Academy and Turtle talk are still accessible from side doors.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Flik's Flyers are behind walls for some work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Christmas ornaments at the entrance to Flik's Fun Fair

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

At the Cozy Cone they were setting up a Pop Up Tune Up for a quick pit stop for Lightning.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13


Along Route 66 the second set of poles for the Christmas decorations have been installed (on the left in this picture).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13


Bayside Brews is the site of a current Oktoberfest Limited Time Magic Promotion. They offer bratwurst sausage, a Bavarian pretzel and gingerbread bundt cake. In addition to the regular beer selections, Karl Strauss Oktoberfest and Hofbrau Munchen beer are also available.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

And some light decorations/signage.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Continuing on, the Maliboomer Park area has a new Meet and Greet. Here Woody is heading off, but working the line on his way by.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Jessie was out for photos at the new location.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Another new guest relations podium.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Walls up around the Paradise Pier meet and greet. Guessing they are preparing it for the Christmas overlay

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Caught some of the Minnie's Fly Girls Charter Airlines show since it is slated to end its run soon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Back to Disneyland and the Halloween Carnival.

Heimlich is completed now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Billy Hill and the Haunted Hillbillies.

A special Disneyland verse to I Have Been Everywhere.

Since it was Friday there were preparations for the Mickey's Halloween Party that night. The Columbia is a backdrop for a photo op during the Halloween parties.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Setting up a trick or treat trail along the Rivers of America

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Some random Haunted Mansion Holiday pictures.. the line was posted at 45 minutes.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Just after 6:30pm there was a brief lighting moment for the Mansion. It takes places every night about dusk.

Another photo backdrop for the party, this one in New Orleans Square.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

The trail looks just about ready for guests.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

I made another pass through the Big Thunder trail area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Villains out on Main Street for the party.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

The park closed to non-Halloween party guests at 7:00. Since I was not attending the party I made my way over to DCA (along with a large number of other guests).

Christmas lights and Santa Flik at the entrance to the Fun Fair, plus a fuzzy full moon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Passed through the Mad T Party

They ended the set with This is Halloween.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

Here is a video from a few weeks ago if you missed it.

The park was crowded thanks to Disneyland closing early. The Little Mermaid was using its extended queue.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

The new Meet and Greet location on the Pier. The characters are long gone, but it is lit up and available for pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

A closer look at the center one.. notice Slinky Dog on one coaster and the little Green Aliens on the other (behind Rex).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/18/13

After this I circled the Pier, caught the opening of World of Color and then walked by the Mad T Party before heading for home.

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.



September 10, 2013

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013 - The Rest of the Weekend

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

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

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

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

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

And a mini food blog...

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Lee had the Kahlua Pork Flatbread, and enjoyed that.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

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

June 22, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, June 21, 2013.

Arrived at the Disneyland Resort just after lunch. First stop DCA where final preparations are underway for the Lone Ranger Premiere which takes place Saturday evening. As soon as you walk in you are greeted by this. (For Saturday guests will be diverted to the walkway behind Soarin' to enter and exit the park).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13


There will be a red carpet stretching from the front of the park, down Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Blvd to the Hyperion where the stars will watch the premiere.

The Backlot will close at 2:00pm on Saturday..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

A look behind the curtain.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Hollywood Blvd has the backdrops as well as some bleachers in between. Guessing those will be for fans.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

A large steam train engine that was used in the Lone Ranger filming.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Everyone was commenting on the hidden Mickey inside the cab..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Dancin' with Disney returned last week to Stage 17 (between Muppets and Monsters, Inc.). This week I stopped inside to see what had changed from last year.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Inside a stage is in the center - some songs had a "featured character" who danced on the stage.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

There were 8 characters out in this grouping.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

It's a great opportunity for kids to get some one-on-one time with some of the characters, who are out on the dance floor with the guests. It's an air-conditioned space, with some padded benches around the perimeter - parents can sit and watch while their kids burn off some excess energy. There seemed to be more people enjoying it than last year, but it still wasn't crowded at all.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13


The second group I saw featured 7 characters.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13


The 2013 Disneyland All-American College Band started their summer performances on Thursday, so this was their second day in the park. At this point they perform their first set each day at the Backlot Stage in DCA. Here is a video of their opening number: The Trolley Song from Meet Me in St. Louis.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Aladdin has gone dark for as they prepare for the Lone Ranger Premiere inside. The signage on the facades has been swapped out for the Premiere.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13


Next stop Cars Land. They are still working on the Cozy Cone fountain.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Wow you can see some of Route 66 this afternoon! Thanks to the Pixar Play Parade going by and drawing some guests off the street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13


Over to Disneyland. Stopped by the Disney Gallery on Main Street. They had some artwork to celebrate the Enchanted Tiki Room's 50th anniversary.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

The back room of the Gallery is still closed and will be for another week from what I read. I hear they are adding some items from the old Disneyana store back there. The exhibit portion of the gallery will move to the Opera House Lobby next door.

The display case and bench that used to be in the center room of the gallery has moved to where the ticket display case in the Opera house lobby.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

The Main Street Cone signage and menus are gone.. wonder if this location will be repurposed into something else soon?

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

It was very quiet in the Jamboree area. The Cast Members near the photo area out-numbered the guests. Cowboy Mickey was able to spend a lot of time with guests. This is another quiet place to go and hang out with some of the characters.

We arrived just in time to see a horse race!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

No one coloring this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

But in only a few minutes the Band will bring the place to life. Their second set of the day is at the Jamboree.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

The 2013 All-American College Band opened with a patriotic medley.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Strike up the band!

One more clip of the band performing.

Time for a voyage on the Mark Twain to check in on the work at Big Thunder Mountain. Rainbow Ridge looks just about done.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13


Plenty of scaffolding up around this rock work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Ate at the Village Haus and noticed new ketchup packets... looks like they changed the type they are using in the parks now. It contains sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Next up the All-American College Band in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle (these kids really get around!)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13


To celebrate Monsters University the band performs a song from Monsters Inc - If I Didn't Have You

They close their set with the Disneyland Attraction Medley..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Since The Enchanted Tiki Room celebrates its 50th Anniversary Sunday we had to stop by to sing with the birdies...

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13


Time for the nightly flag retreat which features the All-American College Band during the summer.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released 25 years ago, June 21, 1988... was going to give the attraction a spin to mark the occasion but the line was longer than the time I had.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

The Matterhorn this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Had to wait for a break in Soundsational so I could cross

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Elvis, Scot Bruce, was at Tomorrowland Terrace

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Time for the All-American College Band's final performance of the day - Town Square set at 7:15.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

The band opens with their theme song.. Bubbles was a Cheerleader.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

This year the Michael Jackson Medley returns instead of Stevie Wonder.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

On the way out of the park noticed these new signs on the turnstiles to help people know what to do to get their hand stamped. It really did not seem to speed things up at all.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Heading to DCA to close out my evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13


Stopped by Route 66 to watch the neon come to life. Notice the Full Moon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Showtime... if you are in the park and have a moment near sunset I would recommend stopping by to watch the lights turn on it.. its a fun moment.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Stopped by the Mad T Party.

The Tweedles MC'ing at the House of Cards Stage

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

The Who R U act has been retired and a new aerial act has taken its place on the House of Cards Stage (I missed their name). Here is a video of the performance.

Pictures from the performance.. this act started last week but I missed it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13


On the way out a few last pictures of the train.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13


The Carthay Circle with a the full moon

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/21/13

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



June 18, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, June 14, 2013.

It has been three weeks since my last visit to the Resort due to a trip to Alaska I was on. So here is a look at what was going on as summer gets underway as well as some of the ongoing projects.

The Disneyland Hotel has received a new sign at the entrance on Magic Way. Cast Members were still putting the finishing touches on the landscaping this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

In Downtown Disney there is an exhibit for the WiiU video game console.

Inside each cube you could try out the game.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13


While I was gone ticket prices increased. Parking also went up a dollar to $16 for a car.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

Both parks received new guide map covers and ad pages. Here is a look at Disneyland's:

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

And DCA's:

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13


Main Street USA is all red, white and blue.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

Climbers have returned to the Matterhorn for the summer.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

The Jamboree area has gone all American for the summer too with Woody's All-American Roundup.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

The format of the area is much the same with some games, picture spots, coloring area, food, pins, and the stage.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

The food carts have a nice stand around them.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

The menu.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

Some of the items for sale

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

Friday the stage was being used by the Billies and by a small show called Woodys Talent Roundup.

Billy Hill and the Hillbillies

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

Video of the Billies patriotic medley.

Cowboy Mickey and Minnie coming out for pictures, they changed with Goofy.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

The Billies performing the Battle of New Orleans.

For the finale the Toy Story gang joins the Billies.

Shortly after the Billies there was a short character show called Woodys Talent Roundup. Since there were no signs or postings most of the audience had disappeared before it started.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

A video clip from the Talent Roundup.


One of the photo backdrops.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

The stage coach is also set up as a photo backdrop.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

Out in the ranch area the goats are in the patriotic spirit too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

The Big Thunder project is moving along. Scaffolding is up on some of the mountain now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

Rainbow Ridge is moving along.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

The hills of Toontown have a new ridge. They have hidden the safety rails that were put up on the roof recently.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

The Orbitron has seen better days..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13


Today was Flag Day so I stopped for the nightly Flag Retreat.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

In the Main Street Opera House Lobby the Disneyland Story section is behind curtains. Is a new exhibit coming or just some work on the current one?

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

The Disney Gallery is receiving a new exhibit.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

The sun shades on the upper level of the Carthay appear to be completed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

At DCA, Dancing with Disney has returned to Hollywood Land, but closed at 5pm so I did not make it inside.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

A safety chain has been added around the bikes at the Monsters U meet and greet since my last visit. I like the eyes on the poles.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

The Cozy Cone Fountain is slowly coming back together but not operational yet.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

Sarge's this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

The Racers turn one year old as does the rest of Cars Land and Buena Vista Street. Hard to believe it's been a year already.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

Out in the Pier the flowers were in bloom.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

The 300th Army Band getting ready to perform. They were at Downtown Disney to celebrate the Army's birthday today (#238). They started over 30 minutes late though - so much for punctuality. I thought it was poor no one announced the new start time. First up was a jazz group.

Next up was a group called the Classics (I did not stay around for the third portion of the band).

Return to DCA. Noticed they had the side door of the Carthay Circle open. This leads to the check in counter and then to the lounge.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

For Father's Day there is an Incredibles Limited Time Magic event going on. From 10am to 6pm you can have your picture taken in front of this backdrop.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

Stopped by the Mad T Party for a while. There are new songs in the set for the summer.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

Walked through Cars Land.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

Found a spot for World of Color which turned three this past week.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13

I did not catch it till it was too late, but there is a new act at the Mad T Party.. an aerialist. Maybe next trip...

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 6/14/13



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



April 8, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, April 5, 2013.

The spring break season is wrapping up this weekend and the parks were fairly crowded but not insane. Upon entering the park spotted a new popcorn bucket offering, you can now purchase Dumbo buckets for $12. The two carts on Main Street and the one in the Small World Mall had them.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

The Big Thunder project continues to roll along. You can see some holes cut into the mountain now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Rainbow Ridge has really taken shape. The plywood is up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Spring has arrived at the Big Thunder Ranch and Jamboree.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

The Jamboree was quiet since it was between performances.

Some Rodeo Games are now out. Next week it will not be so peaceful out here since Long Lost Friends week will be using the Jamboree for character Meet and Greets as part of the Limited Time Magic Promotion.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

The photo backdrop has been decked out for Spring too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13


Cowboy Mickey was roaming around (as was Minnie). If you are looking for quiet character photos try stopping by the Ranch. More times than not it is not crowded and characters are roaming around looking for guest interaction.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13


Vending carts have encircled the old Kodak Information kiosk near Small World.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Walked back toward the hub by way of Tomorrowland, not much happening there, just guests everywhere. Here is a peaceful garden shot near the entrance.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Noticed there was no stroller parking set up along the hub. So guess Fantasy Faire is holding its own ok now. The wait at the Royal Hall was posted at 60 minutes.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Coke Corner/Refreshment Corner now has a new arch and sign (it says Corner Cafe on it).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

One last look at Town Square and Main Street before heading over to DCA.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

At DCA the Spring Issue of the Buena Vista Bugle is on news stands. Be sure to pick up a copy if you are in the park, its a fun read!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

The Oz preview is gone from the Hollywood Backlot and the Muppets have returned to their theater.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Fastpasses gone for the day and 65 minute wait. The Spring Break crowds do enjoy Tower.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Out in Cars Land there is a Limited Time Magic offering, Cozy Cone Hats ($24.95) available at Sarge's Surplus.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

If you really want to go crazy buy both hats and make a "Flying Tires" game out of it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13


Had to share at least one picture of Ornament Valley this afternoon

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

DJ rolling out for a Dance Party.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Goofy walking out for an Instant Concert.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

The swings have returned and the line was using the extended queue underneath.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Walked through the Grand Californian, noticed they still have the plain carpet. Wonder if the other carpet is ever coming back.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Spring break! Life guards in warm clothes... the temps topped out about 70 today with a breeze. It was cooler by this point of the afternoon. The pools themselves had a fair number of guests in them.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Out in Downtown Disney the work has wrapped up and a new, more permanent stage is set up near ESPN.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Downtown Disney had a lot of guests roaming around.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

The window ads at the Grand Californian on the way to Downtown Disney have been updated recently. One is DVC, another D23, and then this one Carthay Circle/Napa Rose.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Walked through the World of Disney on my way back to the parks. Some Spring Break shirts.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Due to the later sunsets the Mad T Party kicks off in the daylight now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Returned to Disneyland for Mickey's Soundsational Parade

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13


Elvis, Scot Bruce, was performing at Tomorrowland Terrace.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13


Some scaffolding up on the exterior of the Alice in Wonderland building. Looked like facade work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Buena Vista Street. The Carthay with Mickey in front.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

The Mad T Party is more impressive at night. The lights make a big difference.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Tower of Terror was up to an 80-minute wait now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

Finally seeing Remember...Dreams Come True (been trying to see it since it returned in January but between cancellations, fog, and other distractions I have missed it till tonight). I made it to Main Street with only about a minute to spare, thanks to only four turnstiles being open to enter Disneyland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 4/05/13

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



January 25, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks in late January, 2013.

The skyline has changed a bit, a large tower crane is visible over the trees. This is being used for the Big Thunder work.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

The train station has received an image on the scaffolding tarps, much nicer to look at!

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

The park side.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Main Street USA this afternoon. The snow has melted on the castle (Speaking of melting.. it was pushing 80 degrees out this afternoon and was a picture perfect day).

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

The menu at the Stage Door Cafe has changed. The chicken nuggets and corn dogs are gone (the two things I liked!).

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

The Big Thunder Trail has re-opened.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update


The trail to Fantasyland is narrow due to the work on Big Thunder Mountain.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update


A look through a crack in the fence.. you can see the base of the crane.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

The Fantasy Faire progress. It's scheduled to open in March.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree has re-opened, featuring Billy Hill and the Hillbillies and character meet and greets.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update


Current food and beverage offerings.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update


Time to head across the Esplanade to DCA. The Hyperion Bridge has been repainted. It now has colored panels. Before it was a solid color.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

The new Buena Vista Street Bugle is out.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update


Over at Mater's one side has a tent over it. They are working on resurfacing it.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

The original surface has taken a beating already and they are installing a new surface that should last longer.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

A look down Route 66. The telephone poles on the right side of the street that were used for Christmas decorations have been removed.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Work on Grizzly River Rrun continues. Here they are rebuilding the railings.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

A section that has not been torn down.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

I was there during the Health and Fitness Expo that was part of Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend. Here is some of the merchandise for this years race.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update


A look at some of the race medals that were on display at the Run Disney booth.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Jeff Galloway was on hand to answer questions, sign books, and pose for pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

The other news of the expo was the new runDisney shoes by New Balance. They are available only at runDisney Expos (starting WDW marathon weekend) and are $125 plus tax.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

The Men's shoe features Mickey.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

And the Women's Minnie

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update


In Downtown Disney the ice skating rink is gone, just a couple of buildings remain from it.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

The Fossil store is being remodeled.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Heading back to Disneyland. The lights on the scaffolding give a different look..

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Stopped by the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree and Mickey and Minnie were hanging out, as well as a handful of other cast members and only a couple of guests.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Last chance to see Small World Holiday this season.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update


Crossed paths with Soundsational as I headed to Tomorrowland.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Wreck-It Ralph has left the Starcade. Construction walls are up.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update


Was able to just walk right onto the Haunted Mansion.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Madam Leota was not floating yet.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Back to DCA... the bridge at night.

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update


Passed through Radiator Springs on my way to World of Color (yeah I took the long way)

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

Arrived a couple minutes before show time and was able to find an ok Standby spot for World of Color

Disneyland Resort Photo January Update

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.



January 19, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, January 11, 2013.

Arriving at the Disneyland Resort. Most of the Christmas decorations and signage have been removed from around the resort. At the Mickey and Friends Tram stop the billboards have been swapped back.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

As well as the Downtown Disney banners.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

The off season has arrived and projects are underway around the park. The first is the Main Street Train Station. Out front of the entrance there are now Cast Members stationed. This part of an effort to cut down on ticket renting.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

The Main Street side of the train station.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13


Stepping onto Main Street.. what a different feel than last week. The crowds plus Christmas are all gone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13


The waits around 1:15pm - much shorter than they have been.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

A quick look at the Fantasy Faire work as I head to Frontierland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Some work going on right inside Frontierland too, the shops are all open, just exterior work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

My first destination. Stopped by the Golden Horseshoe to get a reservation for a show this afternoon. I have posted my Golden Horseshoe pictures in a separate blog posting plus some video from the show.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Big Thunder is closed through the Fall for a major renovation projection. The Big Thunder Trail was closed today and a crane was onsite.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13


Jessie was out for pictures near Rancho del Zocalo and no line!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

The Columbia was making the rounds on the Rivers of America today because the Mark Twain is in dry dock for some work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

The Mark Twain.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Fantasmic is also not running right now and they are working on the center fountain area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

I do enjoy the off season. You can actually see and enjoy the park in a different light.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

The Haunted Mansion is closed as they are transforming it back to the regular show.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

A notice about the Main Street station work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

A couple wreaths up still at the New Orleans station.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Some decorations are still up in New Orleans Square.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

But other sections are back to normal.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

No real visible work going on yet at Big Thunder.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

There is a tunnel set up under the scaffolding to connecting Adventureland to Frontierland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

The walkway/tunnel.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Circling back to the hub, Sleeping Beauty Castle still has snow, all the other decorations have been removed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

A closer look at the Fantasy Faire work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

The other side of the Big Thunder Trail is closed off just past the restrooms in Fantasyland today.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13


The tea cup for photos has returned.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Some work going on in the planters along the Small World Mall, looked like painting and grounds keeping work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

The control booth building looks about finished from this vantage point.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Did a quick walk through Toontown, Christmas is gone from there too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

The Kodak information booth by Small World was closed and empty today.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

A look inside (as many of you know Kodak did not renew their sponsorship with Disney so they are leaving the parks). The booth is supposed to be re-purposed and staying.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Chip out for a stroll in Town Square.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Now over to DCA for a quick tour.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Buena Vista Street has returned to normal.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Except for the Buena Vista Street Bugle which still had the holiday edition on news stands.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

In Cars Land the decorations are gone but the poles on the right side of the street are still up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

The Blue Sky Cellar is closed as a new exhibit on the Fantasy Faire is installed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

The demonstration tire outside of Luigis is gone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13


Heading out to the Pier.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Duffy was hanging around looking for guests to take pictures with.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Donald was out for pictures too and had a small line.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

GRR is closed for its annual work too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13


Elias & Co has returned to its regular merchandise.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Had a few minutes before being let into the Golden Horseshoe and thought the typo on the park time schedule was great... really limited time Magic with Disneyland only open for an hour today!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

The current Disneyland map, notice the back cover now features PhotoPass, Kodak is gone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

The current DCA map, same story. The maps themselves looked the same..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Woody was out for pictures near Big Thunder Mountain.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

I posted pictures and video in their own blog posting of the Golden Horseshoe show, but here are a couple....

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Video of the Can Can


Heading toward Small World Holiday. It runs for a couple more weeks still.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Soundsational has returned.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Elvis, Scot Bruce, was performing at the Tomorrowland Terrace this evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

Given the cold weather (temps were in the 40s by now I think) there was a healthy crowd.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

A look down Route 66 this evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13


DJ's Dance and Drive has been simplified.. it now is just a dance party. DJ plays a handful of songs and everyone dances.


A video clip of what I mean...

Stopped by the Mad T Party. Christmas has been removed from there too.

That wraps up this trip to the parks. I headed back to Disneyland for the Remember fireworks but it was cancelled due to wind.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/11/13

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



November 17, 2012

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - Disney California Adventure Christmas

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trips to the parks on Friday, November 9, 2012 and Monday November 12, 2012.

The Christmas season officially kicked off Monday November 12th this year but most of the decorations were up and much of the entertainment started Friday. In this part we take a look at Disney California Adventure and how Buena Vista Street and Cars Land are celebrating their first Christmas season. Plus a check in around the park.


Buena Vista Street is all d