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October 9, 2016

Halloween Time 2016 - Trick or Tea and This and That

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Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

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

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

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

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

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

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

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

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

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

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

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

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

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

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

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

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

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

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

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

Trick or Tea at Disneyland Hotel

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disneyland Entrance pumpkins

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

Jack and Sally at Disneyland

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

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

Silver Lake Sisters

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

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

Disneyland Evil Queen Caramel Apple

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

Minnie Witch Caramel Applel

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

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

Disneyland Hungry Bear Crispy Chicken Sandwich

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

Disneyland Hungry Bear Cheeseburger

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

Disneyland Hungry Bear Churro Funnel Cake

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

Disneyland Halloween Tree

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







October 7, 2016

Mickey's Halloween Party - 2016 Disneyland

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Mickey's Halloween Party

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

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

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

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

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

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

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

Mickey's Halloween Party

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

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

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

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

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

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

The opening unit.

Mickey's Halloween Party

The Mayor.

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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

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

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

Mickey's Halloween Party

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


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

Mickey's Halloween Party







October 4, 2016

Disneyland Resort Updates - 9/30/16

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

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



Along the Mickey and Friends Tramway landscape work is underway.

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


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


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



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


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



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


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



Looks like they are being relocated to the planter nearby


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



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


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


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



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


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



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


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


Buttons..


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


A closer look at the button.


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


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


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


Where the sign and some other elements were attached.


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


The Bugs Land 60th photo op is gone.


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


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


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


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


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



Stickers were also available for a new iPhone app.


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


This week's activity guide and button for AP Days


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


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


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


Gay Days offerings at Clarabelle's on Buena Vista Street


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


Back to Disneyland. Town Square pumpkins...


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



A video clip of the Pirates segment.



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


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


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


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


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


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


A fall hidden Mickey on the walkway...


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



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







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!







July 15, 2016

2016 Mickey's Halloween Party Information and Updates

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Mickey's Halloween Party

Disneyland (finally) announced details for this year's Mickey's Halloween Party events...and there are a number of changes.

There will be seventeen different parties this year: September 23, 26, 28, 30 and October 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 29, 31.

The most interesting to me is the announcement that The Headless Horseman will appear on Main Street prior to the "character cavalcade." That's the first time that I know of that we've seen the Horseman on the left coast. He'll ride a black stallion and carry his jack-o-lantern head. From the parade route posted on the Halloween Party page it appears that he will enter Main Street next to the fire station, go around Town Square, up Main Street, around the hub, and then back down Main Street and exit next to the fire station. I may have to go to the party this year just to see that!

But there's a hefty price increase this year. The cheapest ticket is $72 for Annual Passholders for advance purchase of tickets to seven different week night parties. It's not clear if there is a discount for DVC members or Visa card holders. The advance purchase price for the general public for those parties is $79, and the same day price is $89. There is no discount at all for the other ten parties, and in fact the parties on October 29 and 31 are $99! Last year an AP ticket was $63, advance purchase was $69, and the same day price was $77. The October 29 and 31 parties were priced at $84 - so they received a $15 increase this year. That's almost 18% higher.

And also factor in that this year parking is NOT included with the ticket - essentially raising the price another $18 for many guests. At least they did not take away the early entry feature, and as in previous years party guests will be allowed to enter Disneyland three hours before the party starts.

Ticket sales open on July 21 for Annual Passholders, DVC members, and Disney Visa cardholders, and for July 28 to the general public.

A significant change this year: While in the past all guests have been "welcome to dress in costume" - this year there's not the same level of encouragement for adult guests. There are many more costume guidelines this time - and they will be very familiar to those of you who have participated in recent runDisney events.

From Disneyland's web site:

While we encourage creativity, we also value safety and good judgement. Please take a moment to read over our latest rules and regulations:
-- Costumes must be family-friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive, objectionable or violent.
-- Guests who dress like characters may not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other Guests.
-- Costumes may not contain any weapons that resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
-- Costumes may not contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another Guest.
-- Layered costumes or costume props that surround the entire body are strongly discouraged and may be subject to additional security screening.
-- Costumes may not reach or drag on the ground. (e.g. full-length Princess dresses).

For Guests Ages 13 and Under: Costumes and some masks may be worn, as long the mask does not cover the entire face and eyes are visible.

For Guests Ages 14 and Older
-- Capes may be worn if the length does not go below the waist.

-- Themed T-shirts, blouses, sweatshirts and hats are acceptable.

-- Acceptable accessories include: transparent wings, plastic light sabers, toy swords and tutus. Headwear may be worn as long as it does not cover the face.

-- Masks of any kind may not be worn.

Guests who do not adhere to these guidelines may be refused entry into, and/or removed from, unless his or her costume can be modified to meet the above standards.

Takes a lot of the fun away for the adults, I think. I get it, but it's still disappointing.

But back to the positives:

New this year is Villains Square - Town Square will become the Disney villains meet and greet location. According to the web site, the villain appearance times will be available on the Disneyland app.

The Cadaver Dans will be back, and will perform their sepulchral hits and melancholy melodies in Frontierland.

As in past years, attending a Halloween Party is the only way to see the spooktacular Halloween Screams fireworks show. I still think it's one of the best firework shows ever at Disneyland.

The usual trick-or-treat stops and meet-and-greets with Disney characters in costume will return, as well as a dance party at the Tomorrowland Terrace.

The Character Cavalcade will also be back this year (last year the Paint the Night parade ran instead). I keep hoping that Disney will make this more of a real parade, but I'm not very optimistic.

I was a little surprised to read that the resort-wide Halloween Time celebration has been moved forward another week, and starts on September 9. Just barely after Labor Day! But it is very popular - in fact I have a friend who says she enjoys it more than the holiday season.

This year will mark the fifteenth anniversary of the incredibly popular Haunted Mansion Holiday. Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy is also returning, so I guess that means we will say goodbye to Hyperspace Mountain later this summer. No official word yet on whether that means we'll see a turning of the Season of the Force. (Just how long ARE the seasons in that galaxy far, far away?)

What do you think of the changes to Mickey's Halloween Party? Does any of it affect your decision on whether (or not) to attend this year?

Lee and I haven't been to the party since 2010, I think, but I'm interested in going back this year - I'd really like to see the Headless Horseman. And I really enjoy the Halloween Screams fireworks.

More information:

Mickey's Halloween Party

Halloween Time Returns to the Disneyland Resort







November 3, 2015

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/30/15

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, October 30, 2015.


Arriving at the Disneyland Resort. Visible progress is slow on the work in the Pinocchio Parking lot.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Most of the Winter Village is in place in Downtown Disney and the Christmas tree is up.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015


I took Monorail Red to the park. Passing by the front entrance to Disneyland. It is still decorated for Halloween. Other areas of the park have moved on to Christmas already.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

The Tomorrowland Terrace Stage is being renovated for the new Jedi Training Academy opening in a couple weeks. The top of the band stand has been removed.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

The Star Wars Launch Bay sign is now up, the attraction opens on November 16th.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Looks like the Marvel sign will be installed any day now.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

The Mark Twain was boarding when I walked by so I decided to go for a cruise and shoot a point of view video from the bow of the ship of the cruise. Here is the result.


Christmas has arrived in New Orleans Square.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015


A new walkway has been installed spanning from the second floor of New Orleans Square near the Club 33 Jazz Lounge to the Train Station near the exit/wheelchair ramp. It appears to be temporary with some minor theming elements on it. My best guess is this will be used by cast members during the upcoming railroad closure.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Fall plants in the hub with the Matterhorn in the background.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Next stop Disney California Adventure. The car is still MIA from Oswald's.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

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

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015


Christmas merchandise out at Sarge's.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

The word "Flying" has been removed from Luigi's so the windows now just say Tires.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

ShellieMay has arrived and is for sale along with Duffy. Wonder if that means Gelatoni will be arriving at some point.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Treasures in Paradise has an interesting assortment of merchandise... Duffy, princess, Star Wars and Christmas are the big sections.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Star Wars Christmas "sweater" t-shirts.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

The Good Dinosaur merchandise

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Donald passed by as I was walking the Pier.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

From the Fun Wheel you can see the work on the Cove Bar expansion, well if I would have actually allowed the camera to focus you could...
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

A car was visible at Luigis.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Flik is ready for Christmas

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Monorail Orange passing by the front entrance as the sun was setting.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

The Haunted Mansion Holiday was a popular draw as always. The queue filled the Magnolia Park area.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Small World is closed for the holiday makeover. It returns next week.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Heading into Toontown. The entrance is still set up for Halloween with one more party to go on Halloween night.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

But inside Christmas is taking over.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015



Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Jingle Cruise shirts are available in Adventureland.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

The Star Wars Launch Bay sign after dark.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Disneyland waits at 8:15pm. Notice the 2 hr wait for Haunted Mansion and Ghost Galaxy.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

Critter Country has some Christmas decorations up.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 2015

I closed out my evening with Fantasmic! which will be closed next year due to Star Wars land construction.
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, October 30, 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.







October 6, 2015

Disney's Halloween Time 2015

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Disneyland Main Street Pumpkins

Friday was my first opportunity to experience Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort this year. I have always enjoyed this event, though I miss seeing the decorations that used to be over in Disney California Adventure - I always thought Goofy's Candy Corn Acres was a lot of fun! But now everything takes place in Disneyland.

The usual decorations are in place at the entrance, and hundreds of pumpkins decorate Main Street. See Jason's Halloween Time blog for all of the photos.

Haunted Mansion Holiday

Also returning this year are the seasonal overlays for Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. Mickey's Halloween Party is taking place on selected nights - 17 parties this year. There were signs posted in the Esplanade advising guests that Friday night's party was sold out.

The Dia de Los Muertos display is back in Frontierland. This year there are new sweet treats with a Dia de los Muertos theme.

Disneyland Dia de Los Muertos treats

The event that did not return this year is the Halloween Carnival that has been held in the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree area. It featured pumpkin carvers, crafts and games, entertainment, and character meet and greets. I missed that - particularly seeing the pumpkin carver's creations.

It was Media Day and Disney had set up several interviews for me, all in the Halloween "spirit", so to speak. Especially this first one, which was a lot of fun.

They called it a "Haunted Conversation", and afterward I was haunted by all of the things that I could've said...like feeling petrified, or asking Archibald if he was often taken for granite, or even singing a few bars of "Grim Grinning Ghosts." Oh well, at least I got enough in that the interview wasn't a total bust. ;-)

There's always quite a variety of Halloween merchandise available - it's starting to rival the holiday season! Disney merchandise coordinator Ashley Cortez showed me some of the new merchandise. There are even more Nightmare Before Christmas and Haunted Mansion items in the Port Royale shop in New Orleans Square.

Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise

I thought the Figaro plush was very cute.

Halloween merchandise

A lot of the shops have Halloween displays.

Disneyland Halloween merchandise

Here is one of the Halloween Party shirts - there's also an orange version.

Disneyland Halloween Party t-shirt

The shirt glows in the dark, and speaking of glow in the dark, there are a couple of other new items. This is the Zero popcorn bucket. Zero glows in the dark AND his nose lights up.

Disneyland Halloween Zero popcorn bucket

This Poison Apple Stein also glows in the dark. Unfortunately the steins are currently sold out.

Disneyland Poison Apple Stein

I spoke with Disney chef Christina Orejel about some of the seasonal treats that are available. Surprisingly, a number of them feature pumpkin! Who knew? I've interviewed her several times and she's a lot of fun.

One of the seasonal treats we did not talk about is thePumpkin Beignets that are available at the Mint Julep Bar. One of my favorites, though I think I like the gingerbread beignets that are available during the Christmas season just a little more.

Disneyland Pumpkin Beignets

Lee and I went to the Hungry Bear Restaurant for lunch, since the menu there has recently changed a bit. You can find the updated menu HERE. The burgers are still on the menu but the Fried Green Tomato sandwich and Big Al's Salad are gone. There's a new Turkey Caesar Wrap and a Picnic Salad. The mini pies are also gone, and funnel cakes are the featured dessert.

I tried the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, which isn't new, but I'd never had it before. It's served with French fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings, or zesty slaw. Normally I'd order the slaw, but they put red and green peppers in it - yuck. So I tried the onion rings instead, which were quite good. The sandwich was disappointing - it was a deep-fried chicken breast, and it was pretty dry and tasteless.

Hungry Bear Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Lee ordered their Halloween Time special: Pulled Pork Hot Dog. Lee really enjoyed it - he ordered sweet potato fries with it. I had some of the pulled pork and it was tasty.

Hungry Bear Pulled Pork Hot Dog

For dessert we tried their other Halloween Time special, a Caramel Apple Funnel Cake. This was huge, and we couldn't finish it. It was really good: the apples weren't too terribly sweet and they didn't overdo the caramel sauce. When we ordered it the cast member asked us if we wanted it half and half - they would have made it half caramel apple and half one of their regular toppings (chocolate or strawberry).

Caramel Apple Funnel Cake

We were able to get in a couple of rides on Haunted Mansion Holiday before the line got too long. This is the 15th year in a row that Jack Skellington and Co. have "decked the halls", and I've enjoyed it every year. There's a new gingerbread house each year - this season it's a house of cards. It doesn't have much movement compared to more recent gingerbread creations - just sways slightly.

Haunted Mansion Holiday House of Cards

I thought the opening scene with Zero seemed a little different this year.

Disneyland Haunted Mansion Zero

The Hat Box Ghost is still in residence - in addition to his top hat, there are a couple of more seasonal hats around him.

Disneyland Christmas Hat Box Ghost

We also dared to take a voyage on Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. I didn't notice any changes here. My favorite part is still the display in the launch bay - watching it seem to malfunction as the signal is lost, then re-established. Oooooh......

Disneyland Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy

In the past the Disneyland Band has had special spider-web decorated band uniforms during Halloween Time, but the new band is wearing their regular Diamond Anniversary uniforms. The Dapper Dans still wear their Halloween vests, though.

Disneyland Halloween Dapper Dans

And speaking of costumes...the characters appear in their own Halloween costumes.

Vampire Mickey

Not much Halloween "spirit" at DCA, though we found the loaves of Mickey jack-o-lantern sourdough bread outside Pacific Wharf Cafe (they are also available at Mortimer's Market).

DCA Pumpkin-shaped sourdough bread

And there's a new fall edition of the Buena Vista Bugle.

Buena Vista Street Bugle Fall 2015






September 17, 2015

Disneyland Photo Update - Halloween Time from 9/11

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, September 11, 2015 with a first look at Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort. For more pictures from this trip be sure to check out my full picture set on disneygeek.com


Halloween Time has arrived from now through November 1st. Here are the Mickey and Friends tram stop billboards.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


The same characters/decorations are along the tramway as recent years.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



The large character pumpkins have returned over the park entrance/exits.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



The floral Mickey has been switched for the season.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


A lot of the blue for the Diamond Celebration is gone and Halloween orange has replaced it.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



Goofy was out in his Halloween Costume greeting guests.

Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Mickey was also out greeting guests in his Halloween Costume this afternoon (by evening they were back to their 60th outfits).


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



A look around Town Square.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



Halloween meets Diamond Days on Main Street USA
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



Stopped to listen to the Dapper Dans of Disneyland perform a Halloween set.



A look back toward Town Square


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



The pumpkins have returned to the hub as usual.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



Pioneer Mercantile has some fall/Halloween props out.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



The Halloween Tree has returned in Frontierland.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Zocalo Park is celebrating Dia De Los Muertos.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



The Zero popcorn buckets are back this year.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



Jack and Sally walking through New Orleans Square
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


A posted 30 minute wait. Turned out to be just over 20 but thanks to the 95 degree weather it felt much longer.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Today was the first day for Haunted Mansion Holiday.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015




Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



The gingerbread house this year is a house of cards.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



I missed the Monkey bride this first trip through...it is in a cage to the right before you leave the attic.



The Hatbox Ghost is there and there are a few holiday props around him.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



Here is a full video of my second ride through.



Crossed paths with the Bootstrappers in New Orleans Square.




The Big Thunder Ranch has the Halloween Round-up starting today.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


This will be the last Halloween for the ranch.



The Scare-Dy-Crow Shack is back.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



The Jamboree is not in use this year. So no carnival, pumpkin carving or characters.



The BBQ area has switched to the Halloween Time event too.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



Poison Apple Mugs are available in several locations around the parks.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



Halloween popcorn buckets


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Tomorrowland Terrace has a burger combo for the holiday.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy has returned.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



Halloween caramel apples


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



Halloween treats at Trolley Treats

on Buena Vista Street
Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



Some Halloween chocolate at Ghirardelli.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



The Diamond Mad T Party was going on...no Halloween this year or at least not yet).


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015



Back to Disneyland.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 2015


Found a spot for Paint the Night.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from Friday, September 11, 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.







October 13, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, October 10, 2014.

This weekend is the Annual CHOC Walk in the Park. Banners line Downtown Disney for the event.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Anna and Elsa have opened a Boutique at the former Studio 365 location since my last visit.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

A quick walk through.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

It appears all the elements of the original store are still there, just a Frozen make-over.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Plus some new Frozen artwork on the walls and a new color scheme

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Big Hero 6 banners up near the AMC Theaters

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Looks like they just redid the compass in the esplanade. It appears to be more concrete now, but a little hard to tell from the angle/distance/speed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

The Finding Nemo Submarines have returned to normal operation.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

The ride experience seemed the same to me.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Only noticeable change was the colored sea plants that were replaced.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Inside the projections looked about the same to me. If they changed anything I missed it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Here is a video clip of a portion of the attraction.

A video clip featuring a Monorail passing by, a sub cruising by, as well as the sea gulls.

The scaffolding is down from the Small World facade work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Christmas light installation has begun on the facade.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

A photo op for the Halloween party already set up and seemingly randomly placed in the middle of Toontown.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Stopped by the Big Thunder Ranch Carnival to check out the latest pumpkin creations. First up Oswald.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Ariel from the Little Mermaid

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Baymax pumpkin accompanied by Hiro from Big Hero 6

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

The latest creation taking shape...Mr. Smee

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Chip and Dale bumped into me.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

The Mark Twain is still in dry dock.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

The work on this bridge leading to the Pooh attraction has wrapped up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

The Laughing Stock Co is back inside the Golden Horseshoe.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

More signs of Christmas... lights in the bushes near the Castle.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Safety railings have been installed along the walkway leading to the Castle since my last visit.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

The workmanship of the installation was spotty. Here you can see it does not sit flush and the wall below was cracked.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

A nightly event at the Big Thunder Ranch is the running of the goats as they head from the pen backstage. Here is a clip from Friday...it was more of a fast walk this evening instead of a run.

Mr Smee was finished and on display.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Monsters University dance party at the Tomorrowland Terrace was being set up while I ate.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

More party preparations near Innoventions

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

The new First Aid and Wish Lounge facades are done.

The gate leads to the new walkway which will be a backstage bypass for Main Street. The other end will be by the parade gate near the Mad Hatter.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Coke Corner is under wraps for some renovation work. It is still open this is just facade work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

As is the Gibson Girl

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Projection and lighting effects on the castle as the Halloween Party music played.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Looking toward Town Square.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

I joined the large mass of guests heading to Disney California Adventure since Disneyland was now closed to regular guests. Almost every turnstile was set up as an entrance and the lines still stretched around the construction/center compass.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

The stairs area of the winery were behind walls for some renovation work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Halloween Cotton Candy (well the bag at least) for sale in Paradise Pier.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

On the way out passed by the new Boutique.

The windows were a little easier to see after dark.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14

Surprised there were no lights on any of the signs.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/10/14


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.



October 7, 2014

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

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Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

It's Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort! This is one of my favorite times of year at Disneyland. It's nice to see some significant effort put into a season other than Christmas.

Jason has already provided a lot of great photos of Halloween Time and the decorations in this Halloween Time blog, so I'm going to give more of an overview of what's available, and my experiences this year.

Friday was my first visit to Halloween Time this year in conjunction with a media event. There's going to be some video later in this blog.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

My arrival at the resort was decidedly non-magical. I usually park in the Mickey & Friends parking structure, but when I approached it from Disneyland Drive, there was an Anaheim police officer diverting those entering from Disneyland Drive away from the parking structure. However, traffic that was coming south on interstate 5, which has an off-ramp that goes directly to the garage, was still allowed to park there.

And then I got quite a tour. Past the three Disney hotels I made a left turn onto the perimeter road that goes behind DCA. I'm quite familiar with this road because I've run on it a lot, but I'd never driven it before. We crossed Harbor and were on Disney Way. I'd expected to be routed to the Toy Story lot, but instead they had us park in the Anaheim Gardenwalk parking garage. There were Disney parking attendants set up with temporary parking booth machines, and the lines moved slowly. I don't know if my Annual Pass didn't scan or if the guy was having connectivity issues with the remote setup or what, but I sat there at least 5 minutes while he tried to figure that out. And maybe that was distracting to him because he neglected to tell me to keep the parking receipt handy because I would need it when I left. Once inside the garage there wasn't anyone really effectively directing the parking so it was rather chaotic.

It was really poorly organized and a huge waste of time. It was over 30 minutes from the time I was diverted until I was parked. At least the shuttle service from the parking garage to the park entrance was fairly efficient. There were plenty of buses lined up to take all of us who'd had to park over there.

I later talked to a Disney parking attendant who said that it's more efficient for those coming from Orange County and south to park in Toy Story, and for those coming from Los Angeles and north to park in Mickey & Friends. One of the things I prefer about Mickey & Friends is that I will probably get to park my car inside so it doesn't get so hot. There is NO shade whatsoever in the Toy Story lot. Just a lot of black asphalt. But apparently if you come from the south you no longer are allowed that particular perk.

Fortunately, despite the rocky start, my day got better. It's always great to walk down Main Street and see all of the Halloween decor that makes up the Main Street Pumpkin Festival, including all of the carved pumpkins placed above the shops and buildings.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

This video piece will tell you a bit more about some of the special events going on at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure during Halloween Time. Disney's media relations people have come up with some really creative interview opportunities for members of the media in the past, but this one might be my favorite. You might even say I had a ball!

The Halloween Carnival at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree has a lot of activities going on. It's THE place to go if you want to get photos of the Disney characters wearing their Halloween costumes. But the characters wander around and interact with guests, and don't stand in one place for meet-and-greets. That makes it a bit more of a challenge, but they will pose for photos - just be patient. This area is usually not too crowded (especially at its 10:00 opening time), so it's a good place to go for character interaction.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

Pirate's League has returned to the Jamboree for the season, so there are opportunities for boys and girls (both young and not-so-young) to get a pirate makeover.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

There are ring toss (even Donald was playing) and wheel of fortune games, as well as crafts available, also.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

The Pumpkin Carvers are busy carving (and painting) pumpkins. There are different creations on display throughout the Halloween Time run.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

And the popular Conjure a Villain tent has returned. Guests are taken inside the tent in groups of 20 or so. There's some special effects, and a Disney villain appears, and poses for photos with the guests. There's usually a wait for this activity, and this year there's some entertainment for those who are waiting, such as a fortune teller.

No Billy Hill and the Hillbillies this year, but a magic act takes the stage for multiple performances each day.

One of the highlights of Halloween Time for me every year is Haunted Mansion Holiday, where Jack Skellington and the HalloweenTown gang have done their own extreme makeover of the Haunted Mansion.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

I had the opportunity to speak with the Pumpkin King:

As Jack said, there's a new gingerbread house this year. This photo gives you some idea:

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

There were also some other changes this year. The singing jack-o-lanterns in the graveyard scene have been re-animated (pun intended) to make them look more three-dimensional and add additional depth, as though we are looking inside the pumpkin mouths. At the end of the ride, when we take the escalator back up to the "living world", "Little Sally" has now been animated: her eyes blink and her mouth moves as she tells us to "Hurry back".

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

Another attraction that receives a Halloween makeover is Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. A spooky spine-tingling soundtrack combines with startling images of the "space ghost" that has taken over the attraction. There's scary eyeballs watching you and skeletal arms reaching for you. The images can definitely be unnerving, and this attraction is not recommended for children. But I find it to be an even greater adrenaline rush than the "regular" Space Mountain.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

Mickey's Halloween Party is a special hard-ticket Halloween event held at Disneyland on select nights in September and October. Guests of all ages may dress in costumer and enjoy a variety of events throughout the park, including trick-or-treating, dance parties, and character meet-and-greets. Mickey's Costume Party Cavalcade and the Halloween Screams fireworks show are available exclusively to party guests.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

I haven't been to this event in several years, but I enjoyed the parties that I attended. I think Halloween Screams is one of Disneyland's best fireworks shows. It originally was shown on all nights of the Halloween season but once the Halloween party moved from DCA to Disneyland it became a Halloween party exclusive. While I understand that approach it doesn't mean I like it.

It wouldn't be Halloween without some special Halloween treats, right? I spoke to Chef Christina Orejel about some of the offerings that are available this year, including the new Pumpkin Twists.

One of my favorites that is back again this year is the Pumpkin Beignets. These can be found at the Mint Julep Bar. Three for $4.19 and six for $7.19. We waited 15 minutes in line to order these, and another 15 minutes before they were ready. But they were SO good! Hot and crispy, with all of that wonderful pumpkin spice flavor.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

There's also the usual pumpkin muffins, cupcakes, miniature pies and tarts at various locations around the resort. I tried a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese filling, though it reminded me more of carrot cake. The pumpkin streusel muffins I enjoyed last year are back though I haven't tried one yet.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

There are other seasonal treats that don't contain pumpkin, such as the Mickey bat cookies and an Ursula chocolate cupcake.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014


And there's a special pumpkin-shaped loaf of sourdough bread available at DCA.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

Most of the counter service and table service restaurants are offering a different seasonal entree or treat, too. For example: Anti-Vampire Chicken Pizza at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, Mac and Cheese pizza at Red Rockett's, Monster's U Burger at Tomorrowland Terrace, brownie and marshmallow skewer at Bengal BBQ, and Shrimp Po Boy at the French Market. I tried the Pork Tamale and Enchilada combo at Rancho del Zocalo. The tamale was pretty good, but the enchiladas were a bit rubbery. (It normally comes with rice and beans, but I asked for lettuce and salsa instead.)

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

Halloween merchandise is available at locations all around the resort. There's quite a variety of Haunted Mansion and Nightmare Before Christmas items.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

While there's a lot happening at Disneyland, there's very little Halloween presence at DCA. The Mad T Party Band has some Halloween costuming and music, and there are some Halloween food items available, but that's about the extent of it. I miss the Candy Corn Acres display that used to be in Sunshine Plaza, and the decrepit Halloween decorations that were in the lobby of the Tower of Terror. I keep hoping that some year they will do some Halloween decorating in Cars Land - I'm interested in seeing how the cars celebrate Halloween!

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014

If you haven't visited Disneyland during Halloween Time I highly recommend it - it really offers guests some different experiences.

Disneyland's Halloween Time 2014


September 28, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, September 26, 2014.

Today is the first Mickey's Halloween Party of the season.

The Party is sold out tonight. Also work continues on the compass area in the Esplanade.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

First stop DCA. Oswald had a line today. He was also meeting further in the corner this week.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

A Red Car in the Carthay Circle Stop

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Scaffolding still up near White Water snacks

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The Ellis Island Boys entertaining the lunch crowd at Paradise Gardens

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The railing near the Wharf could use some work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Next stop Cars Land.

The extended queue for Radiator Springs Racers is set up but not in use.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Only a 65 min wait posted for the Racers.

I opted for the single rider and waited about 15 minutes.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

My car won by a nose.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The wait for the Flying tires was 2 cycles...missed it by 1 group.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The HalloweenTime offering at Schmoozies.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Made my way over to Disneyland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Today no second line of CMs at the entrance. The one who scanned your ticket also had the hand scanner.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

A Big Hero 6 Sneak Peek poster has taken over the Guardians of the Galaxy spot (and Captain EO before that) as you pass under the train tracks to enter the park.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

A temporary ramp while some curb work is underway in front of the Mad Hatter.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

There were groups of people doing some sort of scavenger hunt/quiz game. Thought it said SHIELD on it, but hard to see. Anyone know more about it?

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The Photo Supply Co signage is back. It was open but I somehow did not make it inside...next trip.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

First stop for me the Big Hero 6 preview in the Magic Eye Theater in Tomorrowland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The signs along the walkway in

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

As we walked in they gave us each a kite (only about a quarter of our audience got them).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Time for the preview, it was shown in 3D and used some of the theater effects.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

A crowd near the subs...turned out to be more of the scavenger hunt group. No signs of a soft opening. They officially open Saturday the 27th so I was hoping for a soft opening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

No signs of the sea gulls and the water falls were off. Also this sub paused for several minutes before heading inside.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Work continues on the Small World facade.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Time to check out the latest pumpkin creations at the Halloween Carnival in the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree. First up Winnie the Pooh.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The Pearly Band from Mary Poppins.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Alice and the White Rabbit.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Olaf was painted onto a pumpkin this week.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The Maleficent pumpkin we saw them painting last week is complete.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

A different magician again this week. Three Fridays, three different magicians.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

A guest helps out.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Officer Chip keeping things in order.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The sign along the Big Thunder Trail has been updated/replaced. No more Haunted Hillbillies and now the Magic show is listed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The Legends of Frontierland wraps up on Saturday.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Jack and Sally arriving for pictures near the Haunted Mansion (they were meeting outside the Fastpass distribution area).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

A look at the current selection of Haunted Mansion merchandise.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The doorway is now blocked with a display rack.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

A Haunted Mansion bride doll.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The exterior renovation work on the Silver Spur Supplies facade is done.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Next up some disappointing pictures to share. The seating areas along the walkway to the castle have been removed. The internet word is these are more safety enhancements to reduce the risk of a guest falling into the moat. (which I did not know was a common occurrence in the 59 year history of the park??)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The next phase of the safety enhancements is the installation of a higher railing. They have started to drill the holes for it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Seems they should have repainted all the stone so the new would not be so obvious.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Walked around to grab some last pictures before the extended railings go in.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

A photo location for the Halloween Party set up in the Small World Mall. Looks like the Frozen cast will be outside for the party. There was a steady stream of guests going over/under the ropes for pictures with the empty set.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The Monsters University Dance Party being set up at the Tomorrowland Terrace.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Some of the costumes the party guests wore were quite elaborate.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Main Street USA with day guests leaving and party guests arriving.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Come 7pm the lights and music come on and the party is underway. The park is closed for day guests like me, but you can stay on Main Street for an extra hour of shopping.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Maleficent making her way to the center photo location.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Main Street was packed (as is the norm on party nights)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Here is a quick video of the scene.

I made my way out to Downtown Disney.

Disney Studio 365 has closed.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

A new Anna & Elsa Boutique will be opening in its place.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

Long lines for anything that served food at DCA since Disneyland was closed. Seems guests spend all their time until 7pm at Disneyland then came to DCA and decided it was time to eat.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/26/14

The waterwheel at GRR was moving again. I had not seen it in motion since the last renovation.


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 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 15, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/12/14 - Halloween Time

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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 featuring a first look at HalloweenTime.

Halloween Time kicked off at the Disneyland Resort today. In this picture set I feature the Halloween related pictures. There will be an additional update with other photos.

The Mickey and Friends Tram Stop features Halloween Time Billboards

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Some Downtown Disney Banners feature Halloween (the reverse side Cars Land).

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

The entrance turnstile work is complete and the character pumpkins are out in their usual places.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Main Street is home to the pumpkin festival. The red, white and blue of summer is gone and orange, yellow and pumpkins now on the buildings. These are atop the Mad Hatter shop.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

The large pumpkin Mickey in town square has returned

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

As I walked up Main Street took pictures of the pumpkins on the buildings.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

9/12/14 - Halloween Time


A travel mug is available at several locations. This one in Coke Corner.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Approaching the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ, it is decked out for Halloween as usual.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

The Halloween Carnival takes place daily in the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree area. Here is the schedule.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

The Pirates League is present again.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

A favorite of mine...the pumpkin carvers.

Since it was the first day not a lot done yet...but a couple.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Elvis Stitch carved into this pumpkin.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Characters were roaming around as usual. Here Minnie is signing a picture for a guest.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Halloween Crafts have returned so you can color a mask to use in the parade.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

The Games of Fun have returned. This year Cast a Spell ring toss and Wheel of Fortune.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Carnival Treats is between the games and tent.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

The menu. The only Halloween themed item is the Candy Corn Cotton Candy.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Pirates League is available in the Jamboree area during Halloween Time. There were plenty of cast members waiting for guests. None stopped by while I was in the area.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

There was a Disney film crew and photographer on hand. Guessing we will see a Parks Blog posting soon.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

The Scare-Dy-Crow Shack

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Frontierland is celebrating Dia De Los Muertos in Zocalo Park again.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

The Ray Bradbury Halloween Tree is back in Frontierland.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

There are several locations with special offerings for Halloween Time. Here is a Maleficent Dragon Sipper.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

The Haunted Mansion Holiday reopened today. It had a posted 40 min wait, so just some exterior pictures as I walked by. No FastPass on Friday (and guessing none this year)

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

At the Royal St. Veranda. Their Halloween Time offerings.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Bengal BBQ Halloween Time Treat

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Bengal BBQ Halloween Time Treat

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Halloween popcorn buckets.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Back to the Halloween Carnival. Conjure a Villain is back again and had a long line just like the previous years. This year a fortune teller/mind reader was out to entertain those waiting.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Donald dressed up as a pumpkin.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Show time. A jester takes the stage to introduce the mask-arade

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Time for the mask-arade.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Here is a video of Mickey's Mask-arade

Next up a Magician takes the stage to perform. Here is a clip of his rope trick routine

A clip of a levitation illusion.

A clip of his finale trick.


9/12/14 - Halloween Time

A random ghost on the loose...it bumped right into me.

Then went on to scare/chase this cast member.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Goofy in his Halloween Costume.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Mickey was helping some guests color.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Thought this was funny. A guest was taking a picture of Mickey and Minnie photo-bombed in the background.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Time for the Mask-arade again.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Noticed this sign near the entrance. It was re-used from last year. Still lists the Haunted Hillbillies.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Paid a visit to the Haunted Mansion Holiday that opened today.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Here is a video I took last year (this trip through I just did stills). It was the same this year.

A quick look at the gingerbread house.. it opens to reveal a gingerbread man inside.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Entering the graveyard.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Tomorrowland Terrace Halloween Time special.. a Monster U Style burger

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Next stop Buena Vista Street. Some Halloween inspired treats at Trolley Treats.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time


Popcorn bucket offerings on Buena Vista Street.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Out at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta a Halloween Time offering.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Note it is now a slice of pizza. The flatbreads are gone.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

The Mad T Party is decked out for Halloween again.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

Pizza Port has a Halloween Time offering.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time

The Monster Mac and Cheese Pizza.

9/12/14 - Halloween Time


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.



October 8, 2013

Halloween Time - Spooky Treats on the Menu!

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It's Halloween season - time for tricks and treats, right? The Disneyland Resort chefs have had a few tricks up their sleeves, and have rolled out a huge line-up of special menu items for the season, both savory and sweet. (Though admittedly there's a lot more of the latter!). Some of these items are available at only one location, while others are available at multiple locations in the parks.

I had the opportunity to speak with Pastry Chef Christina Oregel about some of them.

(Warning: If you're hungry, you might not want to read this blog right now - or else have a napkin handy. I am not responsible for keyboard damage due to excess drool. Nor is this blog equipped with Just a Taste technology.)

I'm not even sure where to begin! But let's start with treats inspired by our favorite Halloween decoration: the pumpkin. Did you even know that pumpkin could be used in all of these forms?

At the Mint Julep Bar and Cafe Orleans you'll find Mickey-shaped Pumpkin Beignets. I first tried these on September 13 and enjoyed them - they were puffier and lighter than I expected, with an interesting pumpkin/spicy flavor. They were a little heavy on the nutmeg, but they have since tweaked the recipe and they aren't as heavily spiced. They are $4.19 for three or $7.19 for six.

Halloween Time

Another fried pumpkin offering is the Pumpkin Squash Fritters at the Royal Verandah. ($3.69) These were really good - I liked them better than the beignets. I only wish that they were served warm. They are more like doughnut holes rolled in cinnamon sugar. Some of them had chunks of cooked pumpkin in them - that may not sound appetizing, but I really enjoyed them.

Halloween Time

At various bakeries throughout the resort you'll find Pumpkin Streusel Muffins, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Loaf, and Pumpkin Pie. I had one of the muffins and it was really good - not too overwhelming on the pumpkin/spice flavor, and topped with a few crunchy pepitas. Yum. (Prices for these items range from $2.79-$5.19)

Halloween Time
Halloween Time

Jolly Holiday Bakery has its own version of the pumpkin muffin, which is filled with cream cheese frosting. It's pretty good, but I preferred the other one.

Halloween Time

There's also a Pumpkin Halloween cupcake with chocolate mousse, topped with "worms and dirt" and other fun decorations as you see below. I liked this a lot - the chocolate mousse frosting tastes very good with the pumpkin cake. ($5.99)

Halloween Time

This year's "demitasse" dessert, served in a Minnie pumpkin demitasse cup, is a flourless chocolate cake topped with pumpkin and chocolate mousse. Again, the pumpkin and chocolate pair nicely, but you have to dig down deep to get cake AND mousse together. It's available in most bakery and buffeteria locations. ($7.49)

Halloween Time

Rancho del Zocalo is offering Dia de Los Muertos Dessert Pumpkin Flan with Orange Cake for $5.19. This looks good, but I haven't tried it.

Halloween Time

If you prefer to drink your pumpkin there's a Pumpkin Spice Latte, available at the Market House, Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe, Jolly Holiday Bakery, Mint Julep Bar, and Royal Street Verandah.

But it's not (quite) "All Pumpkin, All the Time".

Another seasonal beverage is the Spiced Caramel Apple Cider at the Jolly Holiday Bakery.

There's an Oreo Mousse Coffin at the French Market. ($5.19)

Zombie gingerbread cookies are available at several locations. It's kind of fun to be eating the zombie, instead of the other way around. I've always liked Disneyland's gingerbread, and these are soft and chewy and spicy, though they aren't actually made by Disney - they come pre-packaged from Selma's Bakery.

Halloween Time

Other sweet treats include Mickey Bat cookies, seasonal Crispy Treats, and candy corn cotton candy.

Halloween Time

At the Candy Palace, Pooh Corner, Trolley Treats, and Marceline's there's various types of Halloween-themed caramel apples, cake pops, chocolate-covered marshmallows and pretzel rods and other candies.

Halloween Time

Pumpkin fudge is usually available also, though it was sold out on my recent visit. :-(

One unusual item I found: Spiced Pumpkin Seed Brittle. This is available in bags at the candy stores - it's brittle with pepitas instead of nuts, and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. It's addictively good. A six ounce bag is $4.99.

Halloween Time

There are some other interesting packaged treats in the candy stores also, like Gummy Body Parts and Gummy Candy Corn. The latter are larger and puffier than regular candy corn, with a softer texture than regular gummy candies, but they have that buttery candy corn flavor. Pretty sweet, but I enjoyed them.

Halloween Time

It's not ALL sugar, though. There's some special food items, also.

Pacific Wharf Cafe offers a pumpkin loaf - sourdough bread in the shape of a pumpkin. :-)

Halloween Time

Rancho del Zocalo features a Holiday Chicken Tamale Plate for $9.99 and a Holiday Chicken Tamale and Carne Asada Plate for $12.99.

The French Market offers a Muffuletta Sandwich for $13.29, served with Cajun chips.

Halloween Time

Tomorrowland Terrace features a Monster U Style Cheese Burger, served with fries that are covered in a blue parmesan-ranch ooze. I'm not sure if this is available for the season, or only on days when there's a Halloween Party.

At Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta there's the Anti-Vampire Chicken Flatbread Pizza with roasted garlic sauce, chicken, smoked gouda, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, harissa, and fresh chives.

Halloween Time

The Carthay Circle Restaurant's seasonal soup is Pumpkin Tortilla Broth. Chunks of chicken and crisp tortilla strips in a pumpkin broth (which has a kick to it), drizzled with cream fraiche. I didn't taste pumpkin - mostly it just added some thickness to the soup. It was very good.

Halloween Time

I haven't had a chance to try everything, but so far I'd have to say that the Pumpkin Seed Brittle is my favorite, though I also really enjoyed the Pumpkin Streusel Muffin and the Pumpkin Fritters.

What are your Halloween favorites?

Halloween Time

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Saturday, October 5, 2013.

As part of Limited Time Magic Downtown Disney is hosting a chalk art festival this weekend. I had intended to visit later and got sidetracked. So not many pictures.. but here is a sample.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13


Work on the Downtown Disney Starbucks is moving along.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

First stop today, DCA. The view from a very windy Fun Wheel this morning looking toward Disneyland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

A backdrop for a meet and greet in the Maliboomer Park area, looks to be for Toy Story characters, it matches the Midway Mania facade down the boardwalk.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

The Pacific Wharf facade work looks to be complete.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

The Blue Sky Cellar is closed now as they prepare a new exhibit. The Fantasy Faire banners are gone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Several weeks ago the Carthay Circle Restaurant started a new tour. This tour happens daily at 10:30am and is free. I was finally in the park in the morning and made a point to give it a try today. You do not need to sign up, just hang around the sign around 10:30 and a cast member will greet you and start the tour.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Our host for the tour. Our group as about 10 guests.We started in the lobby with a history of the Carthay and description of some of the pictures on the wall.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

I am going to skip the details.. since I was taking pictures and not notes or video.. We then went into the main lounge.

(Laura says: I also took this tour recently, so I'll fill in some of the details. The tour is advertised as 15 minutes, but with larger groups and/or more questions it might take longer - mine was 30 minutes but there were also almost 20 people.)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

This painting is a replica of the curtain from the original Carthay Circle Theater.

Laura: The original curtain still exists, but is too large (and fragile) to display.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

A look around the main dining room.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13


Look closely at the table.. notice anything?

Can you make out what the wood has in it... a hidden Evil Queen from Snow White

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Laura: All of the outside corner tables in the main dining room have that design embedded.

This large table is in a private dining room off the main one, you can reserve it for your party, there is a min. fee to use the room.

Laura: It's called the Premier Room. The table will seat up to 12 people There are two smaller private rooms with tables for 4-6: The Hollywood Room and The Buena Vista Room.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

The table has a fun hidden tribute.. the base is inspired by Snow White's wishing well. (Yes, I had to go down on the floor for the picture.. you know you would have too).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

One last look at the main dining room on the way out.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Walked through Elias & Co.. they now have signs up between the rooms telling you what merchandise is in it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Also signs for Big Top Toys.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13


Next stop Disneyland.. Main Street USA
Spent a few minutes checking out the newly opened Market House. It now features Starbucks coffee. The main room is mostly a queue with a large counter in the back.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Some of the old props remain, such as the party line phones.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

The old Disneyana store is now the Book Rest, and it contains a handful of tables.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

The old stove found a place in the new store too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

There is no door to the Book Rest from Main Street you have to go through the Market House...but the windows give a nice view of Main Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

A look at some of the bakery options

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Facade work on Main Street and due to the high winds the tarps are down so you can see the work.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13


The Halloween Popcorn bucket selection this year includes Mickey as the Hat Box Ghost.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Looking back down Main Street USA.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

The work on Snow White's Grotto is complete.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

The walls are down on the walkway from the Fantay Faire to Frontierland, but barriers still up. Looks like the wall was redone.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13


Stopped by the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree and the Halloween Carnival. Pirates League was not open this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

A look at some of the pumpkin creations at the Halloween Carnival. Seems like a lot more use of color than we've seen in previous years.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Donald playing follow the leader with a group of kids.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

In Fantasyland the Carrousel work continues, but the tarps were down due to the wind.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13


The Court of Angels is still open, though.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13


The Haunted Mansion

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Continuing the celebration of its 13th season.. each scene now has something to do with 13..

For example 13 dog bones.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

13 Candles

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

The 13 doors on the advent calendar. Each week they are opening one. So far 3 are open.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

In the graveyard 13 snowflakes scattered around.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13


For the final scene the question mark has been replaced with a 13.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Cut through the shops.. some Halloween Treats.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Time for the Flag Retreat. The Dapper Dans in their Halloween finest.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13


Captain EO is still running.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13


Thor is moving into Innoventions.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13


Stopped by the Royal Swing Big Band Ball at Fantasy Faire for a set. Swing dancing returned early in the summer to the former Plaza Gardens stage. It is now branded at the Royal Swing Big Band Ball but the concept is the same. On most Saturday nights the theater floor is cleared and a band brought in to play for those who want to dance or those who just enjoy the festivities.

Tonight Swingtown was performing.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Some chalk art on the way out.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13


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.



September 17, 2013

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

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laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg

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

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

The Disneyland entrance featured the usual giant character pumpkins.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Main Street is always festive with colorful Halloween banners.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The giant Mickey pumpkin has returned to Town Square.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Onto Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree which features the Halloween Carnival.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The Cast a Spell game.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Olaf from Frozen.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The menu.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The area around the stage featured a variety of decorations.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

A rope spider web.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The goats in the petting corral were dressed up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Dia de Los Muertos displays in Zocalo park.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Jack Skellington was nearby posing for pictures.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update


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

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy has also returned for the season.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

The French Market was decorated with man-eating wreaths.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

And a "coffin cake" dessert.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

With chives or without...

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

Disneyland Resort Photo Update

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


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



September 19, 2012

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, September 14, 2012.

Today marked the kickoff of HalloweenTime for the year, which runs through October 31. You'll find lots of HalloweenTime pictures here -- I'll have a separate post with a look around both parks a little later.


To start, here are the current HalloweenTime guidemaps and time guides.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


New banners along Downtown Disney.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

The pumpkin characters atop the entrance.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


The usual Halloween decorations are up. I did not spot anything new.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Jack and Sally out by the Haunted Mansion FastPass area. New this year, no Fastpasses for the Mansion.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


The Jack popcorn buckets are back.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Stopped by the Pirates League and it was quiet this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

A quick look around the store.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Since they were in between guests the crew let me take a couple pictures of the courtyard. There are four stations, two on this side (two on the other).

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Overhead some props.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

There is some Pirate treasure out and this is another photo area.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

The Halloween tree has returned to Frontierland.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


The Zocalo Park is again celebrating Dia De Los Muertos.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Out at the ranch the Halloween Round up was going on. The shack was about the same. The pumpkin carvers were moved to the Jamboree this year.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

The goats are into the holiday spirit.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Moving to the Jamboree area, the Carnival has come to town.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Thought this was a clever use of cotton candy.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

The Halloween Vittles that were for sale.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Only a few carvings have been done since today was the first day.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


In the back corner there are a couple of games you can play.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


I gave the fortune a spin...

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Was given a card (and a brief story too)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Inside the tent was the Astounding Cauldron of Magic - Conjuring Villains, Just for Fun! Waited about 10 minutes to enter the tent. Captain Hook was on duty for my stop.

There was a PhotoPass photographer on hand to take your picture if you wished.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

The line for the tent.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


No shortage of choices for what you want your popcorn in around the Disneyland Resort (these three, the coffin, then over at Cars Land the car as well as cone box I think in Tomorrowland they still had R2D2, too).

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Back at the Jamboree. A better picture of the carving area, it is the focal point when you first walk in.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Mickey was out for pictures.

The initial reports were the characters with their Halloween costumes would only be at the Jamboree this year. Then later some had backed off that so not sure the final stance.

If I were betting I would say when the Jamboree is open they will be there then in the evening once it closes they will be on Main Street.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Pluto was also out.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Since Mickey did not have a line he went over to spin the wheel and play around a bit.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Donald was next out of the gate.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

The Billies made there way around the arena leading Mickeys Mask Parade which seemed a bit unorganized to me.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

And the characters paraded around a little (Donald and Goofy were out at this time).

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)



The Billies did their Haunted Hillbilly show, which featured the Devil Went Down to Georgia

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

A video of the Billies and parade.

A better picture of the coloring area.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Minnie was out after the show.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Mickey joined her for a couple pictures.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Frankenweenie has invaded the backlot including an exhibition in the Animation Building, sneak peek in the Muppet Theater and food at Award Wieners. Jeanine has a posting on it here

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Back to Disneyland. Ghost Galaxy has returned.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Went to visit the Mansion, posted wait time was 50 minutes, but actually was just under 30. Sparky's grave.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Some random shots from inside, no real changes jumped out to me except the new gingerbread house in the ballroom.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

The new house is very tall and hard to capture a decent photo of on a first pass by...

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


Back to Main Street to wait for Remember.

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


On the way out I was able to see the tram stop billboards

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)

Disneyland Resort Halloween Time 2012 (9/14/12)


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 12, 2011

Halloween time Returns to Disneyland

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Halloween is back at the Disneyland Resort, along with all its assorted and sundry decorations and overlays.

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The Big Thunder Ranch has once again morphed into the Halloween Roundup...

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With a plethora of pumpkins prominently on parade.

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Inside, the decor continues unabated...

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Although the occupants seem more interested in games of chance than home decorating.

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Should you be interested in doing a little home decorating yourself, Dave Caranci, Manager of Resort Enhancement for the Disneyland Resort, was kind enough to tape a little demonstration for us.

Of course, some folks don't really have to work too hard to give their house that Aura of Forboding.

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Seasonal eats are available at the French Market, such as the cadaverously presented Muffaletta, complete with its own coffin.

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For those culinarily inclined, Moises Carranza, Disneyland Chef de Cuisine at the Blue Bayou, showed us how the muffaletta is constructed.

Although, many are likely to be satisfied with just observing the handiwork of the Disneyland chefs, in the enormous gingerbread house which is the centerpiece of the Haunted Mansion Nightmare Before Christmas overlay.

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Disneyland's promotional theme for this year is "Making Memories," and whether you're doing arts and crafts, cooking together with your family, or enjoying the Halloween Party at Disneyland, the likelihood is, you'll be doing exactly that.

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September 19, 2011

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com was roaming the parks on Friday, September 16, 2011 - the first day of this year's Halloween Time celebration. Here is Part 1 of his photo update, focusing on the Halloween decorations and special events in Disneyland.

The Halloween Time billboards at the Mickey and Friends tram stop look to be the same as last year.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

And the ghostly characters alongside the tram route are in their familiar places.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Main Street is decked out for Halloween.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

They are working on the photo store at the end of Main Street, including repainting the entrance.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

One of the new braille maps.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

A new popcorn bucket option this year - this one seemed to be available only at the popcorn cart near the Haunted Mansion.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Haunted Mansion Holiday just opened for the season and was very busy - standby line of about 50 minutes at about 1:40 in the afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

The Pooh characters' Meet-and-Greet spot in Critter Country is behind construction walls.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

The Pooh Corner shop is still open, and has some Halloween merchandise.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Sally was doing meet-and-greet at the Angel Courtyard in New Orleans Square.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Walls are up at the Blue Bayou while the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction is undergoing refurbishment.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Ghost Mickey popcorn buckets are available at most of the other popcorn carts around Disneyland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

The Dia de Los Muertos display returns to Zocalo Park.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1


Big Thunder Ranch celebrates Halloween.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

And that means elaborately carved pumpkins!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Even the goats are getting into the "spirit".

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

In Fantasyland, the Tangled overlay has been removed (Rapunzel's hair and some signs), though the area is still a Rapunzel meet-and-greet.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

The Villains have taken over the Small World Mall again for photos. This year only two stations. I seem to remember three the last couple of years.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1


In Tomorrowland the R2D2 popcorn buckets are still available. So if you collect popcorn buckets you have a handful of choices in the parks right now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

The Flag Retreat ceremony with the Dapper Dans and the Disneyland Band in their Halloween costumes.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

In the Disneyland Railroad's Primeval World diorama, the last dino scene is back in operation.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

The 80z All Stars performed at Tomorrowland Terrace.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy opened for the season, also.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1


I spent some time watching the Ghost Galaxy projections. This year the sound seemed much quieter and not as much activity with the projections, must have been there 10-15 minutes and nothing really happened.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

It dawned on me that I do not think I have walked this way at night and taken any shots of the Star Tours lighting. It cycles through some different light patterns.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1


The sign has some animated lights, also.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Headed over to the Haunted Mansion craziness next. It took us several minutes to get to the Fastpass Return queue. (Standby was posted at 75 minutes)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

A look at this year's gingerbread house in the ballroom.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

The French Market has a seasonal dessert - this Chocolate Coffin Cake, for $4.99.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1

The Remember, Dreams Come True fireworks show is back (Magical was featured over the summer). Fire has returned to the Indy segment which was great to see!

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 9/16/11 Part 1


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



October 8, 2010

Mickey's Halloween Party 2010

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This year the Disneyland Resort's Halloween party has moved from Disney California Adventure over to Disneyland Park. And it has a new name: Mickey's Halloween Party. While the name location and different, most aspects of the party remain the same as what we've experienced in previous years, with some exceptions that I will talk about later. The party is being held on 10 nights in October - every Tuesday and Friday, plus Sunday, October 31. There's more detailed information on the ticket prices, dates, times and events on the Mickey's Halloween Party page.

Lee and I went to the very first party of the year, which was on Friday, October 1. One thing that is new this year: party guests may use their party ticket to enter Disneyland up to three hours in advance of the start of the party. (At DCA the park was closed and cleared of day guests before party guests were allowed in.) There is a separate set of turnstiles that party guests must use - these were all the way over on the right side (furthest from the Mickey & Friends tram stop, of course!). Once inside we obtained our wrist bands - and these were checked multiple times during the evening, especially during the first hour or two. This year's treat bags, featuring an ad for Toy Story 3 on one side and Beauty and the Beast on the other, were also available just inside the turnstiles.

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Halloween party maps were available at the turnstiles as we came in - I assume they were available at the usual map stations elsewhere in the park, but I didn't specifically notice them. These gave the locations of the treat stations, character greeting areas, and dance parties, as well as giving the times of the "parade" and fireworks show. They also listed all of the attractions and restaurants that were open. (Toontown and Tom Sawyer Island were closed, and part of Fantasyland was closed until after the fireworks.)

One of the big (perhaps the biggest) draw of the Halloween Party is that it's the only way to see the Halloween Screams fireworks show this year. The show is only showing on party nights. I know that disappointed a lot of people - it's really a great show, and for those of us who are Annual Passholders, it's kind of tough to have to pay an additional $44-$59 for a party ticket to see something that was "free" last year. But I have to say that it was a LOT easier to see it this year since there were a lot fewer guests in the park for the party than there are on a typical October night, so we weren't crammed into Main Street like we were last year.

We arrived just before 6:00. The park was open to day guests until 7:00, so we were surprised at how many of the restaurants were already closed (other than the ones that would be open during the party) - we wanted to eat at Cafe Orleans, but they had stopped seating before 6:00. :-(

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They were still setting up for the party at that time - putting up decorations and treat stations and that sort of thing. By the time we finished dinner at the Plaza Inn it was about 7:00, which is when the party started. It was interesting listening to the background music change over to Halloween-themed music.

We both thought that there were more people in the park than there ever were for the parties at DCA. Which makes sense, since Disneyland is a lot bigger and can handle more people. Attraction lines weren't too bad once the day guests had cleared out, and got shorter as the night went on. But the treat lines were VERY long in most places - generally a lot longer than we were willing to deal with. Several locations had a "treat trail", where there were 5-6 treat stations within 20' or so of each other. We found the ones along Big Thunder Trail and back in Critter Country had fairly short lines but the ones around the Matterhorn had long lines every time we went by them. One tip: the treat trails are two way, so if the line is long on one end, try going to the other end. There are two cast members at each station, each one serving guests coming from one direction. (One thing I noticed: this was the first party of the year, and at the beginning of the evening cast members all said "Happy Halloween!" as they gave us our candy - by the end of the evening they were generally silently dropping it in the bag. Can't say I blame them - I think I'd be hoarse if I said "Happy Halloween" to thousands of guests in an evening!)

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This year's treats were pretty similar to last year (which was quite an improvement over the first few years): LOTS of chocolate candies, including Snickers, Milky Way, Three Musketeers, Reese's, Nestle Crunch Bars, M&Ms, and Tootsie Rolls. Also Skittles (I got a lot of those), Tootsie Pops, and non-chocolate-flavored Tootsie Rolls. For healthier options there were packets of baby carrots, raisins, and apple crisps. As an extra treat there were one or two treat stations (I only found one) that had Ghirardelli Chocolate squares. Yum. (No, I did not get in line over and over again...)

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We didn't do a lot of attractions, but did get to the two Halloween-themed ones: Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy (25 minute line at 8:45), and Haunted Mansion Holiday (5-10 minutes at 7:30, though it was longer later in the evening). Ghost Galaxy was unchanged from last year as far as I can tell, but they were still doing the "show" on the outside of it (you can read more about that and see some video in this blog entry from last year. Lots of smiles and happy people coming off the ride. One of the other attractions we did was the Jungle Cruise, hoping that it would have some party-themed jokes, but we were disappointed.

Haunted Mansion Holiday is also basically unchanged, though as usual the gingerbread creation in the ballroom is different - this year it's a "Haunted Tombstone". There's an interesting piece on how it was created on the DisneyParks Blog.

There's a new Mickey's Costume Party character cavalcade this year. Not quite enough there to classify as a "parade" yet, apparently, but it's more than we've had in the past. It features new music this year and three new floats, and several "push-along" themed jack'o'lanterns. Along with lots of dancers and costumed characters. It was short, but I thought it was a lot of fun. The parade leads off with the Vampire Mickey float - he opens and closes his cape.

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Then there's the Costume Shop float:

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And the final float is the Haunted Castle:

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In between are the pumpkins - I thought these were really cute - my favorite was the Monster pumpkin!

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The cavalcade runs twice a night.

The decorations were about what we've seen in the past - lots of the pumpkin and ghost Mickey lights (though they had done away with the blowy air-filled thingies - that's a good thing):

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There's of course a fair bit of decorating that's there in the park anyways because it's Halloween Time, like the jack'o'lanterns on Main Street and the carved pumpkins in Big Thunder Ranch.

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Most of the party decorations are done with light projectors. They really need to get their pest control people working, though - there were giant spider webs all over the buildings, including the castle, which also had giant spiders crawling on it! :-)

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The party logo was on the Matterhorn:

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And on the "small world" facade:

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And a variety of projections were on the walkways and on buildings on Main Street.

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The Rivers of America was filled with mist, with eerie lighting:

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There were two dance parties - Buzz Lightyear's Integalactic Space Jam at Tomorrowland Terrace, and Club Skellington at the French Market. both parties had DJs playing various dance music. Buzz and some of the Green Army men were dancing with guests at that area - I didn't see any characters at Club Skellington, but it had quite an interesting entrance!

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There were a lot of character greeting areas, but most of them had very long lines - especially the Princesses back at Princess Fantasy Faire and Mickey and Minnie at Big Thunder Ranch. There were short lines for Pirate's Wharf and the Pooh characters in Critter Country, though. I really liked what they did with Pirate's Wharf - it was at the Frontierland dock, and they pulled in the Columbia behind it. It would have been really cool if they'd done the greeting area on board the ship itself, but I suppose the logistics of that are too difficult.

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Halloween Screams is still one of my favorite fireworks shows ever, and I like it more every time I see it. The fireworks, the music, the effects, are all just terrific. (How can you not like a fireworks show that includes a scream-a-long?) Disney blocked off the area between the hub and the castle until after the first parade (about 8:30), and at that point there were people who started staking out spots for the 9:30 fireworks show. There really was no need to do that to have a decent viewing spot, though - we went off to ride Ghost Galaxy, and didn't get back until about 9:20, but were still able to get a really good spot at the entrance to Tomorrowland, and we weren't packed in like sardines. So that's definitely a benefit to showing the fireworks only on party nights.

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Have I mentioned how much I love this show? :-)

There was some exclusive party merchandise, like t-shirts, Mickey Mouse ears and so on, but I didn't photograph any of it. It was available in multiple locations so it didn't seem too hard to find.

This is the first year that the party has been held at Disneyland and Lee and I both thought that it actually fit a little better at Disneyland than at DCA. For one thing, there are several attractions there that go with the Halloween/villain/ghost theme, like Pirates of the Caribbean, Snow White's Scary Adventures, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and of course Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. And since so much of the "decorating" is done with lighting, Disneyland actually already has the existing infrastructure to do something more interesting than simple projections, such as the colorful lighting on the castle and "it's a small world". And of course the Halloween-themed fireworks show is a HUGE point in Disneyland's favor...though I think we all hope that in the coming years there will be a Halloween-themed version of World of Color (please????).

We really had a good time - and it was very nice to have the extra time in the park before the party - gave us a chance to have dinner and not waste valuable "party time" to do it. I think the extra hours and the fireworks and expanded parade make up for the hefty price increase (about $18 more than last year, but still cheaper than the party at the Magic Kingdom).

We saw a fair number of adults in costume this year - Jack and Sally were very popular, and pirate costumes are a perennial favorite. Lots of kids dressed as the Mario brothers this year. And of course lots of little girls dressed as princesses.

The party lasted for five hours, but we didn't actually stay all the way to the end since we'd done what we wanted to do by 11:30 and we still had to drive home that night. We really didn't make an effort to get a lot of treats, but my haul was still pretty good anyway!

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Additional photos of the event are available in our photo galleries:

General Party Photos

Parade and Fireworks Photos



September 23, 2010

Halloween Treats on Main Street at Disneyland

Deb Wills wandered down Main Street yesterday and found some yummy Halloween Treats!


At the Candy Palace:

Disneyland Halloween Treets

Disneyland Halloween Treets

Disneyland Halloween Treets

Disneyland Halloween Treets

Disneyland Halloween Treets

Disneyland Halloween Treets

Disneyland Halloween Treets

Disneyland Halloween Treets

At the Blue Ribbon Bakery

Disneyland Halloween Treets

Disneyland Halloween Treets

The Market House

Disneyland Halloween Treets

Disneyland Halloween Treets


Now here are some treats for YOU for reading this far....

Donald and Mickey on Main Street in their finest Halloween attire!

Disneyland Halloween Treets

Disneyland Halloween Treets

Disneyland Halloween Treets

Disneyland Halloween Treets

September 21, 2010

It's Halloween Time at Disneyland

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If it's September, it must be Halloween Time.

This weekend, Disneyland rolled out its Halloween decorations in preparation for the season. While the new hard-ticket event Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland isn't starting until October first, the Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy overlays are already in place, and the decorations for the Big Thunder Ranch Halloween Round Up and Main Street Pumpkin festival are bursting with pumpkin-y goodness. Additionally, seasonal desserts and merchandise abound in eateries and stores around the park.

August 18, 2010

Disneyland Upcoming Events

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Just thought I'd post a list of some upcoming events at Disneyland:

September 3-5 - Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. Events include the Health and Fitness Expo on Friday and Saturday, the Family Fun Run 5K and Kids Races on Saturday, and then the Half Marathon on Sunday. All Ears Team members Deb Wills, Cathy Bock, and Lee and I will all be participating in the half marathon. There will be a meet and greet on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. - see http://allears.net/btp/teammeets.htm for more information - hope to see you there!

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September 17 to October 31, 2010 - Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort. I have to say this is one of my favorite times of year - the parks are really festive with lots of pumpkins and decor in autumn colors. New this year, the hard-ticketed Halloween party moves from DCA to Disneyland, where it also gets a new name: Mickey's Halloween Party. Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion Holiday return to Disneyland, and at DCA's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror guests might encounter some new "phantom patrons" of the hotel.

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September 24-26 - D23's Destination D Event and Scavenger Hunt - Destination D takes place Friday and Saturday at the Disneyland Hotel Convention Center. And the Scavenger Hunt on Sunday? Who knows! Sounds like it'll take us all over the resort! Deb Wills, Jeanine Yamanaka, Lee and I will comprise the All Ears Team for that event. There will be two Meet and Greets - one on Thursday afternoon and one on Saturday morning. Again, see the see All Ears Team Meets page for more information.

October 15 - Rapunzel, from the upcoming animated feature Tangled, will begin greetings guests in the Fantasyland location formerly occupied by Gepetto's Sweet Shoppe.

November 12-January 2 - Holidays at the Disneyland Resort, including all of the perennial favorites: Holiday "it's a small world", A Christmas Fantasy Parade, Santa's Reindeer Roundup, Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle, and the magical Believe...in Holiday Magic fireworks show. And it's also fun to see what special holiday food treats the Disneyland chefs will come up with!

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April 29 - June 11, 2011 - Disney's California Food and Wine Festival returns for the sixth annual festival. (Another of my favorite events!) If you're a DVC member like me and want to stay in the Villas at the Grand Californian during your visit to the Festival, starting thinking about your booking dates!

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Also coming up next year, we have the opening of Star Tours - The Adventures Continue at Disneyland, and The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure, at DCA.

This isn't specifically Disneyland, but the Disney Wonder will move to its new home at the port of Los Angeles in January, where it will be be sailing to the Mexican Riviera, and later to Alaska. A number of All Ears Team Members and readers will be on the Inaugural Alaska cruise which begins on May 3 in Vancouver. If you'd like to join us, there's more information HERE.

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October 25, 2009

An October Weekend at Disneyland

Lee and I spent October 10-12 at the Disneyland Resort. Some of this I have written about in previous blog entries (like the AllEars Meet), but here's a few more highlights.

I also wrote about our stay at the new Villas at the Grand Californian, which was very nice. Love that one-bedroom villa!!! Lee has decreed that we shall always stay in one-bedroom villas. :-) (Which we usually do anyways.)

Back to the rest of the weekend, though. Saturday was very crowded in the parks, even DCA had a lot more people than it usually does. They were even making AP holders get handstamps all weekend for park re-entry - and I've never seen that before! We were so glad we were staying on-site and not having to deal with parking and the parking tram and all of that.

Saturday evening we wanted to see the new fireworks show, Halloween Screams, again. We met fellow AllEars® teammate Lisa Berton at The Plaza Inn for dinner. Holy cow...it was soooooo crowded!!! Line out the door and no tables to be had (though we finally found one). It was my fault...I wanted their fried chicken for dinner. And it was good!

Anyway...after dinner we found a friendly CM outside who was starting to direct traffic into Tomorrowland, and we asked her about a good viewing spot for Halloween Screams, so she told us where she likes to watch it from. And Lee videotaped the whole show - it's a little better than the one he originally shot since he had a wide angle lens this time and he modified the exposure settings so the castle is a lot brighter. The show is over 10 minutes long, so there are two parts to the video.

As you can see, even though it was a great spot for seeing the fireworks and the projections on the castle, it was not such a good shot for seeing the "crystal ball", which was partially blocked by one of the castle's spires. Oh well.

Sunday morning Lee and I went into Disneyland for Magic Morning - which we were eligible for because we were staying at a Disneyland resort (and it's the ONLY way for AP holders to get it!) There seemed to be fewer people in the park than on previous occasions when we've done it on a Saturday morning. We did 5 attractions in an hour - Ghost Galaxy, Buzz Lightyear, Star Tours, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan. And after the park opened we went to Haunted Mansion Holiday and Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Ride (more commonly known as "Indy"). Seven attractions in an hour and a half! That's more than we often do in an entire day. :-)

Fast forward to later in the day after breakfast, the AllEars meet, and lunch at Rancho del Zocalo. As we were walking out of the park with Deb and Cathy at about 2:00 we saw the Hook and Ladder Company performing in front of the fire station. This is one of the things I love best about Disneyland...all of the little things like this that you find happening around the park. They were joined by several characters - Cruella DeVil tried to steal the stuffed Dalmatian puppy toy they had sitting on the piano, and she was run off by Chip and Dale, who did a cute shadow dance.

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And then Goofy came out and danced to "Come on, Get Happy" - who knew that someone with feet that big could dance so well? It was a lot of fun to watch.

That evening we came back to the park with Deb and Cathy and did the Fantasmic! dessert package. Cathy hadn't seen the Disneyland version of Fantasmic! before, and I don't think Deb had, either, and they both loved it. Cathy is a woman after my own heart and loved the pirate ship.

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This time the dragon mostly behaved - she moved around a bit more than the first time we saw her, though she didn't breathe fire. I love the way she leans down to look at Mickey like he's some insignificant little thing that's bothering her.

From there we had an excellent view of the Halloween Screams fireworks, but we couldn't see the crystal ball at all, and could only get a glimpse of Zero. Since the fireworks are really designed to be viewed from Main Street, it's not so obvious how many different places they are shot off from - they just appear to be at different depths. But when viewed from the side they appear side-by-side rather than front-to-back.

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The next morning we were able to participate in the morning Power Walk around DCA. This is something they offer several mornings a week to guests at the Grand Californian, but we'd never been able to do it before because we were doing Magic Morning instead. But since this was Monday, there wasn't a Magic Morning. We had signed up a couple of days earlier - there's no charge, you just have to be a hotel guest. At the time they said we would do 2 miles in 30 minutes - which I don't consider a power walk pace. :-)

There were only Lee and I and one other female guest, plus the instructor. Because we were going into the park before it was open we all had to sign waivers. Once the security person let us in the DCA gate we did a little stretching, and then started walking. And since we were a small group who could all walk fast, we really did do a power walk, so I was happy. There was maintenance going on in the park so we had to avoid a few obstacles. We walked all the way around Paradise Pier, around "a bug's land", then all the way around the Hollywood Studios area, went past Soarin', and ended up at the rapids again. Normally they stop there, but we still had time because we'd been walking so fast, so we went once more around past Grizzly Rapids, the Golden Vine Winery, and Soarin'. We still only did 1.8 miles, though - I had my GPS watch on. After we stretched for a while longer we walked out of the park. It was really a nice way to start the morning! In addition to the Power Walks, they also offer Pilates classes several days a week. Our instructor said they hope to expand the program and offer some additional stretching and aerobic programs next year.

It was Columbus Day and Disneyland was busy, though not quite as horrible as I'd expected. Deb, Lisa and I took Cathy to Toontown and showed her some of the fun stuff there is to do there.

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We met Lee and we all had a really nice lunch, and then Lee and I said goodbye and headed back home.

It was a really fun weekend. It's always really nice to be staying there and be able to head back to the room in the afternoon, and even better to go back to the room late at night instead of driving home!

October 13, 2009

Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy

I said I would talk more about the new Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, so here goes. First a bit of general background, and then some spoilers - I will put in a warning before the spoilers!

Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy was initially done for Hong Kong Disneyland two years ago, and fortunately for us they decided to bring it to California this year! I found that quite a surprise - since it's not like Space Mountain is an overlooked attraction that people are no longer interested in riding. :-)

The signs outside the attraction warn that it may be too intense for some children (and even some adults!). I'd recommend heeding those warnings - there are some aspects that could be quite scary, but I'll go into more specifics later. For the most part I don't think the visuals are any worse than what you see on the signs, but seeing them pop up unexpectedly can still be surprising. The music is also pretty eerie.

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One thing that we thought was very cool is the way the outside of Space Mountain "comes alive" at night, with sound and lighting effects. It's definitely worth spending some time standing around Tomorrowland (we found the view pretty good from the area just behind the water ball) just watching and listening. If there's a band playing at the Tomorrowland Terrace it's a little harder to hear the sound effects, though - and for some of the effects you really need the audio cues to get the full impact.

The new attraction has been VERY popular - on weekends Fastpasses for the entire day are long gone by noon and the standby line is over an hour.

Here's a video from disneylandnews that shows a little bit of the outside and the inside - not too many spoilers in this.

SPOILERS AHEAD

READY?

ARE YOU SURE?

Ok. On the first night while we were watching the show on Space Mountain's exterior there was a man behind us who was also watching and taking pictures. We started chatting and discovered that he was one of the Imagineers who had worked on the Ghost Galaxy overlay! So we asked him about something that had puzzled us, which was why there really wasn't any "story" in the attraction to explain what was going on. He told us there's a script for the background chatter that would offer some more information to those who listen to it, but it hasn't gotten into the attraction - maybe next year.

But here's the idea (to the best of our recollection): Space Station 77 has been pushing deeper and deeper into space, and has gotten into a new area which, unbeknownst to them, is inhabited by a "space ghost", who doesn't take kindly to these "space invaders." Strange things start happening, like mysterious energy fluctuations. If you watch the big screen in the launch bay you can see that that it reports a power surge or a loss of signal from time to time and goes to a blue screen - and we all know that seeing a blue screen is never a Good Thing. :-)

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Apparently unmanned probes have also gone missing. So they are seeking volunteers to go on a manned mission to explore this area of space and find out what's out there, and that's where all those of us in line come in. At this point we are woefully uninformed volunteers! :-)

He also told us that the images came from the Hubble Space Telescope, though they have been edited, and elements of them combined to form the ghost - his face might be a nebula, while his eye is a completely different galaxy.

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There are a couple of effects they were able to do here that they did not do in Hong Kong, like having the ghost appear just before the drop, and adding a couple of sections where the ghost appears to move alongside and chase your rocket.

There were 5 different exterior sequences when the attraction first opened, but he told us there were plans for several more - and sure enough, there were three more this past weekend. They go off about every three minutes.

Here's a new video that Lee put together of the exterior show, which includes a couple of the new effects as well as better quality footage of some of the ones we saw before. My favorite starts at 3:44 and ends about 20 seconds later as Space Mountain appears to collapse!

Our experience was that the best place to ride was in rows 4-6 rather than row 1 - the timing on some of the effects didn't work as well for row 1 - we were past most of them before we could really see them. And you also want to sit on the left side of the rocket - you don't really see some of the images very well from the right side.

We think it's a great ride - I wouldn't want it to be this way all the time, but it's a very different and interesting variation.

October 12, 2009

AllEars Disneyland Meet and Disney's Halloween Time 2009 - Part 2

Today was the first AllEars meet at Disneyland! We had quite a few people who came by our little oasis at the Carnation Plaza Gardens. It was fun meeting those of you that I had the chance to meet, and I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to talk to everyone.

Deb posted a picture to twitter: http://twitpic.com/l69u1

The big surprise for me was re-connecting with Mike, who was my computer lab partner back in college - I hadn't seen him since I graduated back in 1982. So yes, you can all say: "it's a small world after all!" :-)

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Lee and several others were having an interesting discussion about how other Disneyland attractions could be "Halloween-ized" - making the dark rides in Fantasyland even scarier was one suggestion, or putting holographic ghostly miners in Big Thunder Mountain. And I believe the idea of a zombie it's a small world was very popular...

After the meet a group of us went to lunch at Rancho del Zocalo, where we had a good lunch and a nice chat.

Thanks to everyone who came by!

One thing I forgot to put in my blog yesterday about the one bedroom villas at the Grand Caifornian...see this? Looks like a nice cabinet under the TV, right?

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Ahhh...but you see it transforms into a Magical Murphy bed! (But it's not a magical MAGICAL bed, since it only transforms one way and not six...all of you old-time RADP readers will understand that one.) So the one bedroom villas can sleep five people instead of four (though that 5th person had better be pretty short!).

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So back to Disney's Halloween Time...I never got back to talking about some of the other aspects of Halloween Time after our visit two weeks ago.

Because of the Celebration Roundup and BBQ back at Big Thunder Ranch, there are some changes in the Halloween decorations there this year. The area is Big Thunder Ranch Halloween Roundup rather than Woody's Halloween Round-Up this year, though they still do some Halloween-themed show items on the stage at the BBQ. But that's not accessible to all park guests like it has been in the past - only those dining there.

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The crafts area is still there, but it's much smaller, and there's no cookie decorating this year.

Scaredy-crow Shack is still decorated with all of the pumpkin-headed scarecrows - it's quite festive.

The animals in the petting corral even get some Halloween-themed attire - when we were there a couple weeks ago we watched one of the animal handlers putting bandanas around the necks of the animals - including the turkey! Who was not happy about that, and attempted to peck at her. I was surprised the goats didn't nibble at them, but apparently they are well-fed enough to not need additional fiber in their diets. :-)

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But my favorite part of Big Thunder Ranch at Halloween is the pumpkin carvers. They do some really amazing things - I could do a whole photo gallery just on the different pumpkins. But I won't bore you with all of them, so here's a few of my favorites:

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There's also some special Halloween treats and desserts. There was supposed to be a Zero's Ghostly Ghoulash served at The French Market, but that hasn't shown up yet for some reason. But there are desserts at several restaurants - Lee and I tried the red-velvet madeleines that are served up in a coffin. That is available at Rancho del Zocalo and The French Market. It was really good.

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There's also this Jack Skellington cheesecake:

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They also have various kinds of seasonal caramel apples, pumpkin fudge, crispie treats and cookies, and a decorated pumpkin spice muffin.

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Another new thing this year is something called a "demitasse". This is a small dessert that's served in a ceramic Mickey pumpkin - it's pretty cute. Inside is a small apple-raisin muffin topped with a sweet caramel mousse. It's served at Rancho del Zocalo, Plaza Inn, Cafe Orleans, Blue Bayou, and Baker's Field Bakery, and perhaps other locations. The price is $6.99.

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The Disneyland Band even has special Halloween uniforms! In addition to the orange plume on their hats, the braid on their uniforms is actually a spider web pattern! I haven't heard them play any spooky music, though.

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By the way...the parks are VERY crowded this weekend - they added a third Fantasmic! show Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night, and by 10:30 a.m. or so they were already parking people in the overflow lots today (Sunday). Fastpasses for Ghost Galaxy were gone for the day by 11:00 this morning.

I'll have more on Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy next time. And I still have to say that Halloween Screams ROCKS!!!!

September 27, 2009

Disney's Halloween Time 2009

Lee and I visited Disneyland Friday and Saturday for the start of Halloween Time. I still have several hundred photos to go through, and Lee is still working on video, but wanted to at least get a few things posted.

The fun starts at the Main Entrance, where a very large pumpkin patch containing some familiar-looking faces "grows" above the turnstiles.

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The Main Street Pumpkin Festival is back, with all of the pumpkins and other decorations.

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And the Dia de Los Muertos display has returned to Zocalo Plaza.

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The Halloweentown gang has once again taken over the Haunted Mansion, transforming it into Haunted Mansion Holiday. This year's gingerbread creation in the ballroom is a carousel featuring Zero and several skeletal reindeer.

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Over in Disney's California Adventure, Goofy has again been hard at work growing all kinds of delicious candy corn varieties, as Candy Corn Acres returns to Sunshine Plaza.

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Candy corn even hangs on the Golden Gate Bridge!

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There were a couple of new things this year, including a new holiday overlay to Space Mountain, called Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy.

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We'll have more to say about this later, but here's a teaser. We first rode it during the day, but when we went back at night we got an extra surprise - a light and sound and special effects show on the roof of the building. I'm not sure I want to know what's in there trying to get out! :-)

Saving the best for last - for the first time Disneyland gets its own Halloween-themed fireworks show: Halloween Screams - A Villainous Surprise in the Skies. This was amazing. Lee produced this video (two minutes cut out to keep it under youtube's 10-minute limit) that will give you an idea of what it looked like. (Yes, he still needs to get a wide-angle lens for the video camera. :-) ) I loved the music, loved the flying Zero, loved the effects, loved the fireworks. It blew me away, and I can't wait to see it again!

I have to say that Halloween Time is back - and better than ever!

September 21, 2009

This is Halloween, This is Halloween...

Disney's Halloween Time returns to the Disneyland Resort from September 25 - November 1. It's festive and frightfully good fun! My friend Kristin really loved this last year - she thought it was better than the Christmas holidays!

dht08_mickeypumpkin.jpg There are a couple of new things this year:

Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy - the Space Mountain attraction gets its own Halloween makeover this year - with a new soundtrack, sinister sound effects, and spooky new visual effects. "Escape the clutches of creepy cosmic creatures lurking around every corner. Sounds like great fun to me!

Halloween Screams Fireworks - Yes! Disneyland gets its own new Halloween-themed fireworks show, which will be shown every night during Halloween Time. The fireworks are hosted by Jack Skellington, Master of "Scare-omonies". Villains such as Ursula, Maleficent, and Oogie Boogie are scheduled to appear, and Jack's dog Zero will make his flying debut over Sleeping Beauty Castle.

And of course it wouldn't be Halloween at Disneyland without the return of Haunted Mansion Holiday and the Main Street Pumpkin Festival, with over 300 uniquely carved pumpkins decorating the shops on Main Street.

Big Thunder Ranch Halloween Roundup replaces Woody's Halloween Roundup, but Jessie and Woody will still be making appearances and there will be crafts for the kids. The Celebration Roundup and Barbecue will still be in operation, and Miss Chris and the gang will add some Halloween-themed songs to their repertoire.


dht08_acres.jpg Goofy's Candy Corn Acres returns to Disney's California Adventure, where Goofy has planted all kinds of candy corn in Sunshine Plaza - everything from candy corn grapes to candy corn tomatoes and pumpkins and carrots! This display is whimsical and fun and always makes me smile.

Mickey's Trick-or-Treat Party returns to DCA for 12 nights in October. Guests can dress in costume and go trick-or-treating at over 20 locations within the park. More information on the party is available on our Mickey's Trick-or-Treat Party page.

Disney villains will be out and about in both parks, as will the Disney characters, dressed in their Halloween costumes.

There will be special Halloween treats available at both parks:

Chocolate Mickey Halloween cookie
Pumpkin muffin with cream cheese frosting
Pumpkin spiced latte
Caramel apple cider
Pumpkin pie
Pumpkin cheesecake

And special menu items at restaurants and vending areas in New Orleans Square:

French Market:
Jack Skellington desserts
Zero's Ghostly Ghoulash
Haunted Mansion Holiday travel mug
Haunted Mansion Holiday spoon dessert
Haunted Mansion Holiday gift with dessert purchase

Cafe Orleans:
Halloween Time Demitasse: duo of beignet with espresso

Blue Bayou:
Halloween Time Demitasse: pumpkin-spiced cake with cinnamon cream cheese

Outdoor vendors:
Haunted Mansion Holiday travel mug
Haunted Mansion Holiday popcorn bucket
Halloween popcorn scoop

And of course there's lot of special Halloween merchandise available, too - limited edition pins, pumpkin Mickey ears. costumes, etc.

Also returning is the Happiest Haunts Tour. This takes places at 4:30 and 4:45 p.m. daily. Guests will hear about Halloween more from the villains' point of view, and also have the opportunity to experience four attractions: Tower of Terror, Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Haunted Mansion Holiday. New this year, tour participants also receive access to an exclusive viewing area for the Halloween Screams fireworks show. A 20% discount is available to Disneyland Annual Passholders as well as Disney Visa cardholders and AAA members.

Disney has put up a really cool interactive Halloween website this year - in addition to information on all of the special activities in the parks there are also on-line Halloween games, crafts such as masks and pumpkin patterns, and even a treasure map for a treasure hunt to do on your park visit. In the Videos section, I find the commercial, which features the villains enjoying Halloween Time, quite entertaining. http://www.disneyland.com/halloween

This is one of my favorite times of year at the Disneyland parks - don't miss it!

July 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Disneyland!

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54 years young!

This year we've already seen the opening of the updated "it's a small world" attraction, the new Celebrate! A Street Party, the Celebration Round-up and BBQ dining experience, and the new Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Over at DCA, the Food and Wine Festival returned for a 4th year, Cocina Cucamonga moved to a new location with an expanded menu, Mickey's Fun Wheel opened, and the Blue Sky Cellar preview center just re-opened with updated exhibits on what we can expect in DCA's continuing expansion.

I think Disneyland received some of its birthday presents early this year with the premiere of the new Summer Nightastic! event, featuring the return of revamped favorites like Disney's Electrical Parade and Fantasmic!, and the new TLT Dance Club, Pixie Hollow Enchantment, and the all new fireworks show, Magical, where Dumbo flies around the castle.

The Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend returns Labor Day weekend, with events Friday-Sunday - Lee and I will be running the half marathon on Sunday. And the very first D23 Expo takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center September 10-13.

Disney's HalloweenTime returns on September 25, including the popular Haunted Mansion Holiday and the return of Mickey's Trick or Treat Party at DCA on selected nights in October.

Also this fall, the very first DVC resort in California, The Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Resort & Spa opens its doors.

The holidays return to Disneyland in November as Disneyland is transformed into the "Merriest Place on Earth", with all of the special decorations, parade and fireworks that go with it.

Next spring the new Disney's World of Color nighttime spectacular opens in DCA and who knows what else Disney might have planned?

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Happy Birthday, Disneyland!

AllEars pages on some of the events and attractions mentioned above:
"it's a small world"
Celebrate! A Street Party
Celebration Roundup and BBQ
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Disney's California Food and Wine Festival
Mickey's Fun Wheel
Summer Nightastic!
Disney's Electrical Parade
Fantasmic!
Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend
Mickey's Trick or Treat Party

October 2, 2008

An Autumn Day at Disneyland

Warning: This is going to be a rambling collection of various observations.

On Friday, September 26, the first official day of Disney's HalloweenTime, I made a day trip to DL with my friend Kristin(e). (Spelled Kristin, but pronounced Kristine - got that?)

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Weather was beautiful and the crowds were minimal - the longest line we waited in all day was 20 minutes for Toy Story Mania. We practically walked onto Space Mountain at 11:30 that morning. And even Soarin' and Grizzly Rapids had less than 15 minute standby lines - we really didn't need Fastpasses, though we used them a few times. (Since it was Friday, I'm sure crowds at Disneyland picked up in the afternoon/evening, but we left at 6:00, so we missed that.)

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Disneyland continues to have big problems with the Indiana Jones attraction - it was down when I was there last month, and it was down when we walked by it just after park opening. We went back later and it was up, and we got as far as getting into our jeep and belted in - and then it stopped. And after a few minutes the lights came on. And then they started sending Cast Members into the attraction to walk people out of it (which would have been really cool, but we weren't in the attraction at all!) They gave us a Fastpass to return later, which didn't end up happening, but Kristin gave it to a group of very nice young teenage boys who rode Grizzly Rapids with us. Anyway...seems like Indy is in major need of an extended rehab.

Haunted Mansion Holiday is back, and still a lot of fun, though I didn't notice any new additions to it this year. But I took a few movies inside (movie mode on my camera handles low light a lot better than still photography!) and noticed something I'd never noticed before: the gingerbread coffin on the table in the ballroom scene has a lid that opens and closes, with a gingerbread man corpse that sits up then lays back down! The scent of gingerbread in the air is a nice touch.

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Other things that have returned in Disney's HalloweenTime:

The Halloween displays along the tram route.

The huge pumpkins over the Disneyland park entrance, and the large Mickey pumpkin in Town Square.

The Dapper Dans on Main Street in their orange and black striped vests

Woody's Halloween Roundup in the Big Thunder Ranch area, with live shows featuring Woody, Jessie, and Bullseye - and your host, Tex Tumbleweed (and sponsored by Cowboy Crunchies!)

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Free coloring crafts for kids at Woody's Roundup, or there are bat and pumpkin-shaped Halloween cookies available to purchase and decorate.

The pumpkin carver at the Roundup

Special menu and food items - especially sweets like Halloween-decorated apples and cookies.

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Lots of Halloween merchandise - both quite a collection of Nightmare Before Christmas stuff and Disney Halloween plush, pins, Mickey ears, etc.

Goofy's Candy Corn Acres at DCA, which features character greetings and "corny" shows.

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Over at DCA, one thing that is NOT back this year is the Halloween decorations around the Tower of Terror - the last couple of years there has been a glowing-eyed bat banner outside, and decayed Halloween party decorations inside, but those were missing this year. Golden Screams has also not returned.

I collected menus from some of the Disneyland and DCA restaurants, and there have been some significant changes in the Blue Bayou lunch, dinner, and kid menus. Price is up, of course. Cafe Orleans also has a few changes, though mostly in their dessert items and the kid's menu. I think the kid's menus were changed just about everywhere that I looked. More "healthy" options - like a turkey dog, or string cheese, fruit, and yogurt, or a turkey wrap. All kid's meals come with fruit (e.g. grapes or apples) though parents can request chips or fries. Prices have gone up slightly - most kid's meals start at $6.99 now - and the price of the Arroz con Pollo Toddler Meal has gone up from $2.99 to $3.99.

Ariel's Grotto had the most significant changes, though - they have completely redone their menu with more of an Italian theme. It actually looks a whole lot more interesting to me - I might actually consider eating there now. They've also changed their pricing - $29.99 if you eat outside, and $31.99 if you eat inside. (Sorry, I didn't get a kid's menu for Ariel's, but maybe someone has one they can photograph and send to me???)

Some of the updated menus:

Blue Bayou Lunch

Blue Bayou Dinner

Blue Bayou Kids

Cafe Orleans

Cafe Orleans Kids

Tomorrowland Terrace (updated kid's menu)

Ariel's Grotto

Wine Country Trattoria Kids

(You can always find all the menus on our Disneyland Menus page.)

We had a very nice lunch at the Wine Country Trattoria at DCA - that's one menu that had NOT changed at all. With the demise of the Vineyard Room, that's my favorite park table service restaurant now. Kristin had the Tuscan Salad and I had the Chicken Bruschetta Salad. They were both really good.

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An unexpected surprise - I ran into my IRC friend JD in line at Soarin'. I knew he had an upcoming trip to Disneyland, but thought it was in October. After Soarin' we all went to Grizzly River Run - JD and I got drenched, but Kristin escaped most of the water. It was nice to see JD!

Toy Story Mania continues to be way fun - Kristin had never been on it before but she had a good time, and she scored very well - better than I did my first time!

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(If anyone would like to help with All Ears menu updates for Disneyland, please let me know - it can be as simple as taking a picture of a menu and emailing it to me. You can contact me at laurag at allears dot net)


Have you visited the Disneyland Resort recently? Share your experiences in our Disneyland Rate and Review Area!

September 30, 2008

It's Halloweeeeeeen Tiiiiiiiime....

Disney's HalloweenTime, that is! The resort-wide celebration returns for its third year. I was there for the official first day on Friday.

It's one of my favorite times of year - I love all of the decorations all over both of the parks, with all of the pumpkins and colorful autumn flowers and foliage. And they also have lots of special holiday food treats, like pumpkin muffins, white-chocolate covered ghost marshmallows on a stick, and caramel apples decorated like jack-o-lanterns.

The huge character pumpkin heads are back over the park entrance, as are the candy corn "A's" in DCA's "CALIFORNIA".

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Main Street is decorated with garlands in fall colors, and jack-o-lanterns peer from rooftops and windows.

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It wouldn't be Halloween at Disneyland without Haunted Mansion Holiday!. Jack Skellington and the Halloweentown gang have again decorated the Haunted Mansion with their own "nightmarish" version of Christmas. I didn't like the movie but I really love what they do with the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay on the Haunted Mansion.

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Sometimes there are a few changes in the decorations, but I didn't notice anything new this year.

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Zocalo Plaza in Frontierland once again has the colorful Dia de los Muertos decorations.

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And Woody, Jessie and Bullseye have returned to Woody's Halloween Roundup in the Big Thunder Ranch area. And even the goats in the petting corral have gotten into the Halloween "spirit", and were all wearing Halloween-themed bandanas.

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Over at Disney's California Adventure the Candy Corn theme is back, with large kernels hanging from the bridge at the park entrance.

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And Goofy's Candy Corn Acres returns to Sunshine Plaza, with all of the various candy corn varieties, like candy corn tomatoes, candy corn grapes, and even candy corn cactus.

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Heimlich pops up from time to time, as he apparently attempts to eat his way through the blue ribbon winning candy corn kernel.

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Disney's HalloweenTime runs through November 2. Haunted Mansion Holiday will remain in place until sometime in January.

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About Disney's HalloweenTime

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

Christmas Holidays is the previous category.

Festival of Holidays is the next category.

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