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November 20, 2016

Disney California Adventure Celebrates the Holidays with New World of Color - Season of Light and More

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World of Color - Season of Light

There's a new version of World of Color for this holiday season: World of Color - Season of Light. It combines favorite holiday musical numbers with heartwarming scenes from Disney and Disney-Pixar movies, choreographed with fountains, lasers, lights and even flames.

World of Color - Season of Light

We saw it Saturday night, and I have to say that it's my favorite version of the show. The fountains are not so much the main focus of the show now, and all of the different effects are much more integrated and complement each other. I thought the lasers were used especially well.

And I loved the music. I'm old enough to remember my parents playing Christmas albums by Nat King Cole ("The Christmas Song"), Bing Crosby ("Mele Kalikimaka"), and Dean Martin ("Let it Snow"), and I enjoy hearing them again. But it's also great to hear contemporary artists such as Michael Buble and Idina Menzel ("Baby It's Cold Outside"), and Amy Grant ("Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"). And Pentatonix's version of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies", followed by Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Wizard in Winter", had everyone cheering.

World of Color - Season of Light

The animation clips were very well chosen. Who can forget the heartwarming moment from "Lady and the Tramp" when, on Christmas morning, "Darling" opens the box and Lady's head pops out?

World of Color - Season of Light

And I had to laugh when Sadness from "Inside Out" appeared - to the music of Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas." :-)

During the song "Let There Be Peace on Earth", giant soap bubbles, shaped like hearts, rise into the air and float away.

World of Color - Season of Light

My camera battery died partway through, but here's the first 16 minutes of the show, including the Pentatonix and TSO numbers.

As I mentioned, we thought it was a terrific show. In reading Disney's "Fact Sheet" about it, I found a few items that explain some of the new aspects.

  • Five newly installed barges in the lagoon erupt in a brilliant lighting effect to punctuate the grand finale.
  • More than 800 individual light fixtures are needed to illuminate the show.
  • Six laser projectors are deployed to create a variety of entertaining effects.
  • Nearly 20 high-definition projectors convey imagery to the screens of water.

You'll need a Fastpass to access the viewing areas for the show. These are available at the entrance to Grizzly River Run beginning at park opening. Fastpasses for the areas that are more centered are distributed first, so go early. There is some standby viewing, but it's further back and tends to fill up early.

World of Color - Season of Light

In addition to the regular Fastpass option for the show, there are options for Premium viewing experiences. Lunch and Dinner packages are available at Carthay Circle Restaurant and Wine Country Trattoria, and a Dinner Package at Ariel's Grotto. The newest option, introduced earlier this year, is the Sparkling Dessert Package. Lee and I did that one on Saturday. It's unique because you actually get to sit for the show - everyone is seated at small tables. A plate of cheese, fruits and desserts is served to you, along with beverages. At $79 plus tax it's the most expensive of the viewing options, but it's my favorite way to see the show.

World of Color Dessert Package

We have more information on Dining packages on our World of Color page.

We took a quick look around the park at some of the other holidays options. This year Santa Claus has moved from his Elias and Co. department store Santa setting to a more rustic area along in the newly named "Redwood Creek - Santa's Holiday Visit".

Redwood Creek Santa's Holiday Visit

Santa is tucked away in the Ahwahnee Circle (the small amphitheater). I was wondering if guests would be less interested in visiting him there, but the line was long, so that's apparently not an issue. Without standing in line there was no way to get a good view of Santa Claus, so this is not a very good photo.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

I thought it very amusing that this is the roof of Santa's greeting area. :-) A place for the reindeer - but only eight of them - to hang out.

Redwood Creek Reindeer Landing  Zone

The Redwood Creek area itself has decorations, which I don't recall seeing in the past. The Jingle Bridge is hung with bells that ring when people bounce on it.

Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

The "challenge" aspect of the Redwood Creek area is now "Elf Games". Some additional elements have been added at some of the apparatus, like a sack of gifts at the slides for the "Pack the Presents" game.

Redwood Creek Elf Games

There's also a meet and greet spot with Chip and/or Dale.

Disney California Adventure Chip

Guests seemed to be enjoying the area - as I mentioned the line for Santa was fairly long and there were a number of kids enjoying the various challenges.

This isn't a holiday thing, but right now DCA is showing an extended preview of Moana in the Bugs Land Theater. Using all of the available effects. Including lots of water. We really enjoyed the preview - the movie looks very good.

Disney California Adventure Moana preview

The rest of the park seems to be decked out in its usual holiday style. The Christmas tree is in Carthay Circle, and there's a tree lighting show every night. The residents of Cars Land have also decorated the town of Radiator Springs - Seasons Speedings to all! :-) (I'm certainly enjoying the Passholder benefit of free downloads of PhotoPass photos!)

Cars Land Seasons Speedings

Here's the new popcorn buckets being sold in both parks. The Santa Mickey was VERY popular and we saw lots of people carrying them around. Getting them before they sell out.

Disneyland 2016 Santa Mickey Popcorn Bucket

I believe the Elf Mickey Stein is only available at Disneyland. That was also popular.

Elf Mickey Stein

There's also a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs refillable mug that seems to be available resort wide.

Snow White Holiday mug

To close, even though this isn't DCA, either, the construction of the enormous gingerbread house in the Grand Californian was underway. This year it's a gingerbread version of the hotel itself. There's even a fire in the fireplace.

Grand Californian Gingerbread House

Grand Californian Gingerbread House

A smaller version of the gingerbread house is available for purchase - $85.

Grand Californian Gingerbread House







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.







May 12, 2016

World of Color Dessert Party - Disney California Adventure

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World of Color Dessert Party Desserts

Back in March Disneyland added a new premium viewing experience for World of Color - the World of Color Dessert Party. Recently Disney invited me to bring a few friends and experience it for myself.

There's more details below, but my initial reaction? Wow. If you're going to purchase a viewing package, then THIS is the way to see World of Color!

Check-in begins 45 minutes before the show starts at one of the entrances to the World of Color viewing area along Paradise Bay. That was a little bit slow - we had arrived about 30 minutes before check-in began and were at the front of the line, and it was about 8 minutes before we were seated. Everyone received wristbands, and then a cast member escorted us to our table.

World of Color Dessert Party

Yes, that's right, I said table. Not only do you get to sit at a table to enjoy your desserts, you get to stay seated for the entire show!

The tables were on the level just below the check-in area. Approximately the center of the viewing area right behind those who were standing in the "Premium Dining Package" viewing area. There were two rows of table along the front and back of that area. Most of them looked like they sat four people. (We were told that had our party been less than four, we would share the table with others.)

World of Color Dessert Party Tables

In the back was the bar/beverage station.

World of Color Dessert Party

In addition to soft drinks, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, adults could choose to enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and their signature World of Color cocktail - which was a lovely shade of blue. (Made with blue curacao, coconut rum, Sprite and some thing else. It did not contain much alcohol.)

World of Color Dessert Party Cocktail

We were told that kids under the age of 10 would receive the World of Color glow cup, but I didn't see anyone who had them. There is also supposed to be sparkling cider available to kids or adults who would prefer that.

There was a dessert menu on our table.

World of Color Dessert Party Menu

Our server quickly arrived and brought us a basket of bread, and told us she'd like to bring our dessert plates first so that was could get started on them and then take our drink orders. Since by this point we only had about 30 minutes until the show started, we appreciated her haste.

World of Color Dessert Party Bread Basket

The dessert plates had a lovely selection of items. I was so much more impressed with these than with what was offered in the Fantasmic! Dessert box. Most of that was always dry and inedible. But this was much more my idea of what should be available at a dessert party! We had three cheeses: Manchego, Brie, and mild cheddar. Also a bunch of green grapes (though mine were not the freshest). For sweet items there was a chocolate mocha bundt cake, a Mickey coconut macaroon, waffle bowl with berries and lime yogurt mousse, Dulce de Leche filled shortbread cookie, and a mini French macaroon (various flavors of these - between us we had pistachio, raspberry, and caramel).

World of Color Dessert Party Plates

Disney can accommodate special dietary requirements - just provide that information at the time of booking.

Our server took our drink order and returned with small bottles of water, sparkling wine AND the cocktail for two of us (we were allowed to have one of each as part of the Dessert Party), and coffee and hot chocolate for the other two. She returned just before the show started and asked if we wanted anything else, and then returned near the end of the show to ask again.

World of Color Dessert Party

Even though we were seated, we were still high enough that we had an excellent view of World of Color - Celebrate. Lee and I had seen it before but our guests had only seen the original version, and they really enjoyed this one. Unfortunately for us on the night that we saw it, the projection screen on the Fun Wheel was not in use because of wind. So all of that content was on the smaller California Screamin' screen, where it was harder to see.

World of Color Dessert Party

There was only a single show that night, so after the show was over we were able to linger at our table without being in the way and delaying preparations for a second seating. Our server, without any prompting from us, asked us if we wanted boxes to take some of our uneaten desserts home in. I'd intentionally eaten the less-travel friendly ones in anticipation of that, so we went home with some cheese, shortbread, mini macaroon and Mickey macaroon, and chocolate bundt cake. I enjoyed them later that weekend - the bundt cake was especially good. It really was a very nice dessert selection.

The price for the Dessert Party is $79/person, which includes tax and gratuity. As I mentioned, we were Disney's guests for this one, but if I wanted a premium experience I'd be willing to pay for it. I felt like I really received a premium experience. I had a seat for the show, I had someone serve me yummy desserts and cocktails, and I had time to enjoy it. My only real complaint is that I would like them to admit Dessert Party guests an hour before the show starts - as it was we felt a little rushed. Either that, or go down the line an hour before and do pre-check-in and give out the wristbands. That would speed the seating process once the seating area is opened.

World of Color Dessert Party

There's no question that this is a "splurge" experience. The regular World of Color dining packages, where you receive a three-course lunch or dinner, run anywhere from $30-$62 for adults, not including tax and tip. Less expensive, and a lot more food. Those packages give you access to an excellent viewing area, but it's standing only, and it's still pretty crowded. If you want a prime spot right within the viewing area you'll still need to line up at least an hour and a half in advance of showtime. The Dessert Party is more expensive, but gives you a seat and a more exclusive experience. You have to decide for yourself if it's worth it to you.

The World of Color Dessert Party can be booked up to 60 days in advance either on-line at https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/disney-california-adventure/world-of-color-dessert-party/ or by calling 714-781-DINE or (714-781-3463). Full payment is required at the time of booking. Reservations may be canceled up to 24 hours in advance.

Disclaimer: I was an invited guest of the Disneyland Resort at the World of Color Dessert Party. This did not affect my review, and my opinions are my own.








June 3, 2015

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Dining - Fantasmic! and World of Color Dining Packages

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Disclaimer: This blog really doesn't deal with dining that is specific to the Diamond Anniversary - just dining that I did when I was there for the opening weekend of the Diamond Anniversary. Though we did two dining packages that gave us preferred viewing for two of the new shows: World of Color - Celebrate!, and Disneyland Forever (from the Rivers of America).

We began with a quick-service dinner the night of the World of Color premiere. We wanted something fast. The line for Earl of Sandwich was out the door (as usual), so we went to Jazz Kitchen Express. I ordered the BBQ Pork Po-Boy with Southern Coleslaw. I was wearing a white shirt, but fortunately I managed to eat it without incident. It was ok - the BBQ sauce was a little too sweet for me. The coleslaw had red peppers in it (WHO puts peppers in coleslaw?), which made it inedible for me.

Jazz Kitchen Express Pork Po-Boy

Lee tried the Classic Red Beans & Rice. I tried some of it - it had a bit of a kick to it. I don't remember that when I've had it before. He liked it, though.

Jazz Kitchen Express Red Beans and Rice

On the 24-hour day, we didn't get our first real meal until that evening. About a month before I'd booked a Fantasmic! dinner package at River Belle Terrace for that evening. I had a couple of reasons: first, I wanted to see what the Disneyland Forever fireworks looked like from the Rivers of America, second, I wanted to try the River Belle Terrace in its table service incarnation, and third, I wanted to be sure that we actually had a meal and an opportunity to sit down and relax for a while that day.

On days when Fantasmic! runs, River Belle Terrace doesn't serve the usual lunch/dinner menu. Instead, breakfast is served until 2:00, and then the dinner service starts at 4:00. The restaurant becomes a table service restaurant, using the tables inside and those outside on the patio above the walkway that connects Adventureland and New Orleans Square. The outdoor tables on the Frontierland side are still available to anyone as seating for Stage Door Cafe or any of the nearby food carts.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Dinner

Our reservation time was 5:20. We arrive a few minutes early and had a very short wait before we were seated. We opted for an outside table rather than inside. The restaurant was an oasis of calm on a very busy day. It was really nice to sit down and relax and enjoy a good meal!

The Fantasmic! menu is a three course table service meal. It includes rolls and beverage. The price is $41.99 for adults and $19.99 for kids. We had a very nice server who quickly brought us our bread and beverages and took our order.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Dinner

For my first course I ordered the Fresh Mixed Greens - served with tomatoes, crostini and shaved Parmesan cheese. It was a really beautiful salad, and very nicely presented. I enjoyed it.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Salad

Lee had the other appetizer choice: Creamy Corn Chowder with bacon and chives. He really liked this - it wasn't totally pureed, and had a lot of corn kernels in it. That made it too "corny" for me, but that was one of the reason he enjoyed it so much.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Corn  Chowder

For my entree, I ordered Rosemary-marinated Chicken Breast with garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli. It came with a lemon thyme sauce which I asked for on the side. This was perhaps one of the best pieces of chicken I have ever been served: it was moist and flavorful. Just excellent.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Chicken

Lee had the Slow-roasted New York Strip and a Cajun Shrimp Skewer, also served with garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli. The meat is not cooked to order - it's all cooked medium. Lee said it was good but not great - he really enjoyed the shrimp, though.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Steak

The other entree choice was Hand-tossed Cavatappi Pasta Primavera served with seasonal vegetables.

For dessert I ordered Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberry Sauce. It was just ok - the chocolate on top tasted like Hershey syrup, and there were little bits of gelatin in it.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Mousse Cake


Lee tried the other dessert option, Caramel Apple Pie with Streusel. That was served warm and it was very good, and a generous portion. Both of the desserts were good-sized.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Apple Pie

We were able to get an Annual Passholder discount on dinner. Our server asked us which show we wanted to see. That surprised me - I thought that we'd have no choice but to go to the first show based on our reservation time. I'm sure it's based on availability, and we wanted the first show, but it was nice to have the option.

River Belle Terrace Fantasmic Fastpasses

The Disneyland receipts all have the Diamond Anniversary logo at the top now - I thought that was neat.

River Belle Terrace Diamond Receipt

Our server told us to show up at Harbor Galley at 8:45 for the 9:00 show, and the ticket said to show up at 8:30. We arrived closer to 8:30, and there were already lots of people in our section - there were maybe a dozen who arrived after us. The viewing area was just to the left of center stage - it was really a great location. We all had to sit on the ground but there was plenty of room. We were in the third row of people. I wished that we had remembered to bring the Fantasmic! seat cushions we'd gotten in January when we did the dining package at Blue Bayou - it's the only restaurant that offers those.

Fantasmic! was terrific, as always, but the real reason we had come was to see the new fireworks show, and to see how the projections would look on the mist screens. We were in the perfect spot - the fireworks were almost centered over the mist screen in front of us. And in addition to the fireworks over the park, there were also some fireworks that were local to Rivers of America.

Disneyland Forever Rivers of America

We weren't as immersed in the projections as we were on Main Street, but on the other hand, everything was right in front of us, and we didn't miss projections because we were looking at fireworks or vice versa. And while the projections on the mist screen weren't as clear as they are on a solid surface, though we could still see them pretty well.

Disneyland Forever Rivers of America

These are the only two locations I've seen the fireworks from so far, and I thought they were both really good experiences, though they are different.

Disneyland Forever Rivers of America

In Disney California Adventure, the former Condor Flats area has been re-themed to Grizzly Peak Airfield - extending the national park look of the rest of the Grizzly Peak area. The Taste Pilot's Grill restaurant is now the Smokehouse Grill, though the menu is similar - still essential a burger restaurant. We hadn't eaten there in its new incarnation, so tried it for lunch one day.

I ordered the veggie burger. All burgers come with choice of fries or zesty slaw, or for 50 cents more you can substitute onion rings. I chose the onion rings. They were really good! The burger was just ok - I believe this is the "Garden Burger" patty, and I don't like it very much because there are peppers in it. The restaurant still has the toppings bar with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, etc., so I can make it the way I want. Sometimes the patty is superfluous, and I make more of a "salad burger". :-)

Smokehouse Grill Veggie Burger

Lee ordered the bacon cheeseburger. It was a fine cheeseburger, but nothing special. He had fries with his, and they were also very good.

Smokehouse Grill Bacon Cheeseburger

Later in the afternoon we visited Ghirardellis. I tried something new called a Nob Hill Chill. Oh my. I have a new favorite! It's like hot fudge sundae meets milkshake! A dark chocolate sundae that you can drink. It was thick and chocolatey, with hot fudge along the sides and the bottom (as well as mixed into it), and little bits of chocolate.

Ghirardelli Nob Hill Chill

That evening we went to Ariel's Grotto to try the World of Color Dining Package there. It had been several years since I'd been here, and the menu has changed slightly - not quite as much seafood as in the past (and really, Ariel shouldn't be serving up her friends!!!).

I celebrated surviving the 24-hour event by ordering the Magical Star cocktail which had a glow cube in it. Very tasty.

Ariel's Grotto Magical Star

Our meal started with a sourdough bread service - the bread loaf was quite pretty!

Ariel's Grotto sourdough bread

This is also a three course meal, with choice of appetizer and entree, and then dessert is a sampler platter. I started with the green salad. Nice mixed greens, though it came with blue cheese on top, which I didn't realize, as it wasn't listed on the menu. When our server came back I mentioned that to her and she quickly brought me another one with no blue cheese.

Ariel's Grotto green salad


The other appetizer choice was Butternut Squash Soup. Lee ordered that. It was very thick and really tasty.

Ariel's Grotto butternut squash soup

My entree choice was the cider-brined pork chop, which I believe has been recently added to the menu. It was served with mashed potatoes and seasonal greens. The pork chop was excellent - perfectly cooked. The mashed potatoes were also good, but I didn't care for the greens - wilted beet greens or something like that.

Ariel's Grotto pork chop

Lee ordered the Sustainable Fish, which was macadamia nut-crusted mahi mahi. He enjoyed that, though he also didn't like the greens that accompanied it - baby bok choy in his case.

Ariel's Grotto Macadamia crusted mahi

While the first two courses had been quite good, the best part of the meal was dessert. We each received a sampler dessert platter with creme brulee, a S'mores cake and a chocolate covered strawberry. Best dessert platter I've ever had! The S'mores cake was especially good - I would be happy to get that for dessert in ANY restaurant. Really a wonderful way to end the meal.

Ariel's Grotto dessert platter

At the end of the meal we received our World of Color Fastpasses for the Preferred Viewing section. We arrive about 30 minutes before the 9:00 show, and there were already lots of people there. We had a great spot right in the center, and even though there were two rows of people in front of us they were fairly short and didn't block our view or put kids on their shoulders, etc. We still really enjoyed the show - second viewing for Lee and third for me - and I continued to catch details that I had missed before. Like during the theme park section, we see Neil Patrick Harris in familiar scenes or situations. Fun.

Neil Patrick Harris Tiki Birds

On our final morning we had breakfast at Tomorrowland Terrace. I ordered the breakfast burrito without the chorizo. But it still had eggs, cheese, black beans, and salsa in it. Very filling. And it came with a side of fruit.

Tomorrowland  Terrace  Breakfast Burrito

Lee ordered the Breakfast Platter with eggs, bacon, biscuit, and potatoes. Interesting that the potatoes looked like Yukon gold potatoes, rather than the standard russets. This was pretty much your normal American breakfast, but it was good.

Tomorrowland  Terrace  Breakfast Platter

There are a number of special food items for the 60th anniversary, but we have not had a chance to try any of them yet. I'm sure we'll have a few more visits to Disneyland coming up, though. :-)


May 27, 2015

Up All Night - Disneyland Diamond Anniversary 24-hour Party

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

12:00 a.m.,Hour -6

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

6:00 a.m., Hour 0

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

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After the countdown and the fireworks, the floodgates opened.

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7:00 a.m., Hour 1

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

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8:00 a.m., Hour 2

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

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9:00 a.m., Hour 3

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

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

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

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10:00 a.m., Hour 4

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

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11:00 a.m., Hour 5

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

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

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

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12:00 p.m., Hour 6

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

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1:00 p.m., Hour 7

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

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

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


2:00 p.m., Hour 8

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

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3:00 p.m., Hour 9

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

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

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4:00 p.m., Hour 10

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

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

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


5:00 p.m., Hour 11

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

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6:00 p.m., Hour 12

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

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

Jeanine: So we finally got seated and served.

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


7:00 p.m., Hour 13

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

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8:00 p.m., Hour 14

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

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

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9:00 p.m., Hour 15

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

Disneyland Forever

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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

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

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

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10:00 p.m., Hour 16

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

Disneyland 24 hour event


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

Disneyland 24 hour event

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

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11:00 p.m., Hour 17

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

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


12:00 a.m., Hour 18

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

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


1:00 a.m., Hour 19

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

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2:00 a.m., Hour 20

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

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Harper Goff--Adventureland

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

3:00 a.m., Hour 21

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

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

World of Color - Celebrate

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

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4:00 a.m., Hour 22

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

Diamond Mad T Party

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

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

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5:00 a.m., Hour 23

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

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

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6:00 a.m., Hour 24

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

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

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

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Final Comments

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

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

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

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

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


May 21, 2015

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

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World of Color Celebrate

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

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

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

World of Color Celebrate Neil and Mickey

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

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

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

World of Color Celebrate

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

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

World of Color Celebrate Walt Disney

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

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

World of Color Celebrate

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

World of Color Celebrate

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

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


April 27, 2015

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Preview - Part 2

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Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

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

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



April 23, 2015

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Preview - Part 1

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Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

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

Here's what I found most interesting:

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

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

New Guest Participation Opportunities

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

Disneyland Diamond Days Sweepstakes

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

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

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

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


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

Disneyland Diamond Days Sweepstakes During 60th Celebration

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

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

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

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

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

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

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

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

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

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

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

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

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Miscellaneous logo shirts, glasses, etc.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

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

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

China, ornaments, Vinylmation, photo and autograph books.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Balloon popcorn buckets - red, blue, and purple.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

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

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

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

Pins, lanyards, coin sets

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

Dooney and Burke bags, of course!

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

As well as attraction-inspired handbags.

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary


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

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary

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


January 31, 2015

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary - Additional Details

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

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

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

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

So now a few random things...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


January 30, 2015

Disneyland's Diamond Anniversary Announcement

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Disneyland's Diamond Anniversary Announcement

On Wednesday, January 28, Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, accompanied by Steve Davison, VP for Parades and Spectaculars, announced some of the plans for Disneyland's upcoming 60th anniversary Diamond Celebration this summer. This has been long anticipated, and ended months of speculation and rumor.

You can read the full press release HERE.

It was no surprise that the announcements included a new fireworks show, Disneyland Forever, and a new parade, Paint the Night, both at Disneyland. We've come to expect a new parade and fireworks for any of these big anniversary events. But there's also a new World of Color show coming to Disney California Adventure in honor of the anniversary: World of Color - Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney. All three will start on May 22, 2015.

The new World of Color show is fittingly centered on Walt Disney: his legacy, imagination, and his dream of Disneyland, apparently as told by Mickey Mouse using fountains, animation, projections, lasers, and other special effects.

Disneyland's Diamond Anniversary Announcement

I personally am very happy that they are tying this all back to Walt Disney, and I'm looking forward to seeing it.

(A mouse and his lasers - let's all be very relieved that this story isn't being told by Stitch.)

And that Mickey is one busy mouse, since over in Disneyland he'll be "painting the night" in "dazzling Disney dreams" in the new nighttime electrical light parade. Though it harkens back to the beloved Main Street Electrical Parade, and will feature a new take on the iconic Baroque Hoedown music, Paint the Night is an all-new parade, presented with 1.5 million brilliant, individually controlled LEDs. Parade units will include characters from both Disney and Pixar movies such as "Toy Story", "Monsters, Inc.", "The Little Mermaid", "Beauty and the Beast", and, of course, "Frozen."

Disneyland's Diamond Anniversary Announcement

When we visited Tokyo Disneyland last year my favorite thing was their amazing Electrical Parade, so I'm very excited to see a state-of-the-art light parade coming here. Though I'm glad I'm not responsible for programming 1.5 million LEDs!

The new Disneyland Forever fireworks show will integrate pyrotechnics, special effects, and image projection to immerse guests in scenes from classic stories like "Peter Pan" and "The Jungle Book." With the use of projection mapping technology, Sleeping Beauty Castle, "it's a small world", the Matterhorn, Main Street USA, and the Rivers of America all become part of the story. And the best part is that it means the show is designed to be viewed from all around Disneyland, and not just from Main Street. In fact, according to Steve Davison, the "story" will be slightly different depending on the viewing area, encouraging guests to return and see it again from another location. Davison also hinted that Walt Disney will also be brought into this show "in a big way. We might or might not see him in the orange groves?"

Disneyland's Diamond Anniversary Announcement

In addition to the new shows, the entire Disneyland Resort area will be decorated with Diamond Celebration decor and banners. Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle and Disney California Adventure's Carthay Circle Theater will be "diamondized", each with its own diamond medallion. New lighting effects and additional diamond accents will create even more sparkle after dark. And of course we can expect new food offerings and merchandise that follow the "diamond" theme.

Though given all of the new technology we're going to be seeing, I'm not sure that "Diamond" is quite right, and I think this should be called the "Silicon Anniversary: Disneyland Gets its Geek On!" :-)


November 30, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

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

I started off my long holiday weekend spending the afternoon/evening at the Disneyland Resort. First stop today, Disney California Adventure. On Buena Vista Street Oswald joined the Community Bell Ringers. I arrived as they were wrapping up the last song.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

After retrieving a FastPass for World of Color I headed for Disneyland.

Every Wednesday until July there is an Annual Passholder promotion called Wednesdays with Walt where they have a presentation and screening in the Opera House several times in the evening.

This week they are showing Classic Disney Holiday animated shorts. I picked up a wristband for the 5pm showing.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Main Street transportation rounding the hub.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

First stop for me the Jingle Cruise. A posted half hour wait and it took about that this week. A snowman in the queue.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

The Mark Twain has returned to service and looks like new again.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

A look around the Mark Twain. No substantial changes jumped out at me. Just a lot of new paint and touch up work. The boat looks great.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

New signage for the souvenir sippers...now Fantasmic! vs Halloween Time. Not sure why you would want a glow cube in a sipper :-)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Haunted Mansion Holiday time.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Anna and Olaf passing by in A Christmas Fantasy Parade (I was on my way to Small World Holiday).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

The curtains appear to be gone for good so you can now get pictures of Baymax and Hiro without waiting in the long line, if you are quick or the groups slow.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

The Dapper Dans of Disneyland performing at the nightly Flag Retreat in Town Square.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Lights set up for the Candlelight Ceremony in a little over a week.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Next I headed to the Main Street Opera house for Wednesday with Walt. This was my first of the series since I usually cannot make it down to the park on a Wednesday.

Baymax floating up from the front row.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Stacia Martin introduced the four shorts which were Mickey's Good Deed, Winter Storage, Santa's Workshop and Donald's Snowball Fight.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

At the end she gave away a drawing that she had made to one lucky guest.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

As you exited everyone received an Annual Passholder ornament.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Fun to see the Elias and Co windows on Buena Vista Street after just seeing the short they were inspired by (Santa's Workshop).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

The hub cap tree has been removed from near the court house. I read it had some wind damage.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Viva Navidad! Street Party

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Time to visit the three hotels and see their Christmas decorations...first up the Grand Californian.

The tree in Whitewater Snacks

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

They now have Coke Freestyle machines in Whitewater.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Elf Mickey Stein available for the holidays.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

The tree in the lobby of the Grand Californian

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

This year there is a large gingerbread house in the lobby. It's 7-1/2 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Here are some other stats on it.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

The gingerbread house looks like the hotel.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

There are seven hidden Mickeys.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

The back side of the creation.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

A snack and drink location was set up near the gingerbread house.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

The menu.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

A quick video clip of the tree and lobby while I waited for a photo to upload.

The trees out front of the hotel have their Christmas lights.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Deer out front of the hotel.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

The tree in the lobby of the Paradise Pier Hotel

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Walked over to the Disneyland Hotel next. This is the Frontier Tower Lobby.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

As I was walking toward Trader Sam's a pair of live musicians there were wrapping up with a Hawaiian Christmas song. Here is a clip of it.

The E-Ticket pool was closed this evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

A tree outside Goofy's Kitchen

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Santa's meet-and-greet area near the convention center is all ready for Santa.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

The "gingerbread" Castle is back at the entrance to the Disneyland Hotel.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Olaf's Ice Rink was open for business at the Downtown Disney Winter Village.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

The Winter Village in Downtown Disney.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

This is the last weekend for the Mad T Party. So stopped by for one last performance from the band.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

The snow finale...

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Arrived on Main Street as the 8:30 Wintertime Enchantment moment was happening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Goofy showed up to take some pictures in Town Square.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Found a spot for Believe in Holiday Magic....Disney warned then cancelled the show. The announcement said due to winds at upper elevations. I did not see anything moving. So had to settle for just snowfall.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Arrived in Paradise Pier about 20 minutes before World of Color was to begin and found spot in the blue section using my FastPass.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Since I was in a good spot again decided to re-record the Do You Want to Build a Snowman opening with the SLR camera. So here it is. Interesting that it featured images from some of the holiday animated shorts I had seen earlier.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

Here is the Frozen Medley then finale of World of Color Winter Dreams.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/26/14

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.



November 22, 2014

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14, Part 2

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Friday, November 14, 2014, the first weekend for all of the holiday decorations and activities at Disneyland.

Returning to Disney California Adventure. The window of Off the Page.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Inside the Animation building the Character Close-up area is closed. Internet rumor is the Frozen sisters will be moving in here.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Time for the Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

A couple clips from their performance.

One more clip from their performance.

Viva Navidad! has returned to Paradise Gardens. The Street Party was in full swing when I arrived in the area.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Viva Navidad offerings

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Goofy was out for pictures when I walked by.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The 2014 logo on merchandise.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

This Route 66 sign along the parade route seems new to me. It is hung like the snow flakes.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Time for the lights and neon to come on along Route 66. This week Winter Wonderland was played.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

This evening Santa Mater rolled by as the event was happening.

The setting sun and new Route 66 sign, notice the snow flake lights in the background.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The citizens of Buena Vista Street gathering for the tree lighting.
The event was the same as the last couple years.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Here is a video from last year of the Tree Lighting.

The Christmas tree in Town Square lit up.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

A Christmas Fantasy Parade making its way up the parade route.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

If you were interested here is a look at this section from the old Very Merry Christmas Parade. I recorded this in December 1993.

As expected the jungle does not have a lot of lights...so the pictures are not very good.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The villagers had the generator they found going so their lights were on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The projection show from last year has returned to Small World Holiday.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

I returned to Main Street for Sleeping Beauty Castle Wintertime Enchantment. Here is a video I took last year of the show. It appeared to be the same this year.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Some Hanukkah items for sale.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Over to Buena Vista Street and Trolley Treats. Holiday cookies.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

A look around Carthay Circle this evening.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The Mad T Party Band was performing when I arrived. They are concluding their sets with holiday/snow songs and snow fall.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

The Mad T Party Band finale from 2012 leading to snow fall.

Snow Flakes lead the way to Paradise Pier.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Time for the 2014 edition of World of Color Winter Dreams.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

It now features more Frozen. Included is Do you want to build a snowman?

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Here is a video clip of the opening.

Olaf is still the host.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

There seemed to be more of Tinker Bell and her friends in the video this year.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

A clip from the middle of the show.

Big Hero 6 made the clips package this year. Here are Baymax and Hiro.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

In Summer has a new finale

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Santa Mater

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

Here is a video clip of the new Frozen additions and it runs through the finale.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

After the finale for the exit music they use a studio recording of Glow (the song that opened the show last year)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/14/14

A brief clip as I was exiting the park.


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



December 1, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13 - Disneyland Resort

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Wednesday, November 27, 2013.

Firststop today, Disney California Adventure. I walked down Buena Vista Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

In Paradise Gardens as part of Viva Navidad! Mariachi Espectacular performing at the Bandstand.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13


The arts and crafts area was not busy this afternoon.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Goofy was at the meet and greet location.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Time for the Viva Navidad! Street Party

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

The Red Car News Boys have added a couple Christmas songs to their show. Here is a video of the finale and then the News Boys driving down Buena Vista Street.


Next stop, Disneyland. In Town Square preparations for the Candlelight Ceremony are underway. This year the performances are December 7 & 8th only.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Went for a cruise on Holiday "it's a small world".

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Caught a performance of Mickey and the Magical Map. They have made some tweaks to the show. The most obvious is Stitch is now part of the Hawaiian Roller Coaster segment.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Then for the finale Mickey has a new outfit since he is no longer an apprentice.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

A video clip from the finale.

Santa Mickey at the Jingle Jangle Jamboree

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Pluto

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Santa Goofy.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Minnie in a holiday dress

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Enjoyed a performance of Billy Hill and the Holiday Hillbillies. Here is a video of a Hillbilly Guitar Lesson.

The Winter edition of the Buena Vista Bugle was hot off the presses Wednesday and hit news stands in the afternoon/evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

A closer look at the paper.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Walked through Cars Land.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

The Pacific Wharf Cafe has holiday treats.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

And of course Turkey shaped sourdough bread

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Spotted a light up Olaf on the way to Disneyland. ($15)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

XBoxOne has taken over Disney Infinity in Innoventions, there were a handful of XBox 360s in the corner with Disney Infinity still.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Elvis, Scot Bruce, was at the Tomorrowland Terrace and had a packed dance floor.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Caught a Wintertime Enchantment Holiday Lighting moment on Main Street on my way to DCA.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Arrived a few minutes before Winter Dreams started and found a spot in the stand by area. I focused on the projections on Screamin.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Then I went and got in line to use my Fastpass for the second showing. The view this time was a little better.. this is from the Blue section.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Wish they had a rule you were not allowed to hold anything above your head... kids, iPads, cameras...

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

What are the odds.. a kid up on shoulders right in the center of my picture.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

The wind was blowing a great direction and the snow flakes were floating over the show.

A couple were blown up by the water which was fun to see to (I did not get a good picture of that though).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13


A snowflake lifting off. This would have been a great shot if it the snow flake would have been rotated some..

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 11/27/13

Video of Winter Dreams finale from the premiere night.


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



November 21, 2013

World of Color, "Winter Dreams" Debuts!

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The big event of the Disneyland Resort's holiday season is the all-new holiday version of World of Color, "Winter Dreams."

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Hosted by Olaf, the Snowman from the upcoming film "Frozen," it's an extravaganza of light, and music and water. Starting off with a virtual choir made up of hundreds of guests who recorded themselves singing "Glow" with their webcams, it includes scenes from "Bambi," "Secret of the Wings," and a production of "Nutcracker," starring the Toy Story gang.

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The production also spotlights two numbers from "Frozen," including Elsa's song "Let it Go," and Olaf's song "In Summer."

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Not only programmed with new content, the technical side of the show has been updated as well, with ultra high-definition projectors expected to be four times sharper than the original World of Color projectors, and the addition of over 700 high-power LED lights lining California Screamin'.

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Here's a video of just some of the highlights featured in the new show:

At the premiere, Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf, was there to introduce the new show and answer a few questions afterwards.

September 10, 2013

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013 - The Rest of the Weekend

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

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

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

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

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

And a mini food blog...

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

Lee had the Kahlua Pork Flatbread, and enjoyed that.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 2013

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

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

July 6, 2013

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from his trip to the parks on Wednesday, July 3, 2013.

I started off my Holiday weekend at the Disneyland Resort. First stop DCA.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

There is a new summer edition of the Buena Vista Bugle on newstands.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13


They no longer have Cast Members at each Fastpass machine for World of Color. You are on your own to put your ticket in and get your Fastpass. There was one CM nearby to answer questions.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

The Lone Ranger Train is in the Transportation Plaza on the East side of the Esplanade

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Disneyana has moved into the former Gallery Location in the Bank of Main Street.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

The Disney Gallery has moved next door into a small portion of the Opera House Lobby. I will take an extended look around both in a separate posting in a few days.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

In Town Square a photo location has been set up for Independence Week, part of the Limited Time Magic Promotion

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

The horses are celebrating the 4th too.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Woody was just wrapping up his show as I arrived in the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Time for the Billies

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13


You can assemble hats to celebrate at the Roundup.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Next stop the Golden Horseshoe. They had stacks of the Frontierland Express on the counter, this one page publication is an ad for the Lone Ranger.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

A check on Rainbow Ridge

The facades look just about complete.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13


Lone Ranger merchandise in Frontierland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

This hat is $30 if you were curious.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Made it over to the Big Thunder Jamboree a few minutes into the 3:25pm set of the College Band.

A video clip of the Band performing on the Sunny Side of the Street featuring the trombone section.



Chip and Dale roaming around.
Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13


Next up a visit to the Disney Gallery, which is now housed in the lobby of the Opera House, where the Disneyland Story/Models were. (A more detailed look in a future blog post)

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

A sample of the art work on the wall.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13
The Barker Bird used to be out front of the attraction.
Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13


The artist station is now in the back room in what is now called the Disneyana store.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Some of the Tiki Room merchandise that is available.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13


Refreshment Corner had a new menu item for Independence Week. It is a pulled pork hot dog with slaw for $7.79 (thought it should have been $7.76 to be more patriotic).

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

As did Plaza Inn

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

The College Band arriving for their 5:05 set

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13


I had not noticed before but there is no longer a drinking fountain on the west side of the train station. Guessing it was removed during the last rehab.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

The College Band arriving for the nightly Flag Retreat

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

The Dapper Dans sporting their Red, White, and Blue costumes for the 4th.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

A couple of clips from the Flag Retreat.

Heading over to DCA for a quick walk through. No waits to hop between parks right now.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Award Wieners has Monsters University items.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Another temporary store has been set up on the corner, this time for Disney Junior.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13


This was something I had not seen.. adults and kids all over the rail along Cross Street, occasionally you see a kid. Why? Is it that hard to stand up or is the view that much better from a foot closer? And where are the cast members to get them back on the proper side of the rail?

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

For Independence Week Mickey is decked out in red, white and blue.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13
Time for the 7:15pm set of the All American College Band.
Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Meet the members of the 2013 All-American College Band.

Arrived on Route 66 in time to watch the neon come on for the evening.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

The Wharf Cafe had bread to mark the holiday.. these appear to be liberty bells with 1776 on them.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Video of the Fourth of July preshow for the World of Color. It appeared to be the same as the last couple of years and due to the light breeze in our face meant we got smoke and some mist and not very good pictures.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13


This years show featured Glow with the Show but unfortunately only one set near me and they were on a child so I could not get pictures/video of the ears with the show going on.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Caught the first 10 minutes or so of World of Color before making my way to Disneyland.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Back to Main Street USA and the Independence Week photo location.

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13

Video of the Disneys Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky, 2013 edition.


Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 7/03/13



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.



July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

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This is my country! Land of my birth!
This is my country! Grandest on earth!

It is amazing to think that over half of the year has passed by, and we've already seen the launching of a new cruise ship, the opening of a new resort, the 20th anniversary of one Disney park, and the rebirth of another.

What difference if I hail from North or South
Or from the East or West?

With so much more to come for the rest of the year, it's fitting, perhaps, to take a day to reflect on exactly how fortunate so many of us are, to be able to be at this place, in this time; in a country that, although it certainly has its plethora of problems, was founded on principles of freedom and equality--principles I feel sure were intended to be extended to all, regardless of wealth, or color, or location, or inclination.

Tomorrow, we can continue to fight and argue about all the socioeconomic tragedies that are as much a part of America as its victories. For today? Happy Independence Day.

This is my country! Land of my choice!
This is my country! Hear my proud voice!
I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold,
For this is my country! To have and to hold.

[This, and many more great Disneyland videos by Fantasmiceddie24 can be found on YouTube.]

June 15, 2012

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

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This is the cover of the map available at the entrance turnstiles today. Even though Disney California Adventure was closed to the public there were still a lot of people in the park - not only media, but lots of contest winners and their families and other invited guests.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

For us today was mostly about Buena Vista Street, the new entrance to Disney California Adventure. As most Disney fans know, Main Street USA was inspired by Walt Disney's boyhood home of Marceline, Missouri. Buena Vista Street is inspired by Los Angeles in the 1920s and 1930s, where Walt Disney came as a young man full of dreams and ambition.

There were two new shows that premiered on Buena Vista Street today, and both of them are also about pursuing your dreams. The first is Five & Dime, a jazz group featuring five musicians and Dime, their singer, who have been traveling along Route 66 to L.A. They performed classics like "On the Sunny Side of the Street" and "Ain't We Got Fun."

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

Zoot suit Goofy performed one number with them.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

Here's the video:

The next group was the Red Car Trolley News Boys who sang and danced.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

They were joined partway through by a young Mickey Mouse, seeking his fortune with "a suitcase and a dream." It was a great show - both the new shows are terrific additions.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

Video:

In addition to the shows Buena Vista has other new entertainment offerings - Disney characters in period costumes and the new "Citizens of Buena Vista Street".
Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

Fifer, Fiddler and Practical Cafe is the new counter service location, offering hot and cold sandwiches, soups and bakery items. It's got a very large indoor seating area. It's the Starbucks location and serves up the usual selection of familiar Starbucks beverages.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

Trolley Treats is the candy store, with quite a selection of "homemade" candies like real pulled taffy, specialty candy apples and gourmet marshmallows. They have a show kitchen where you can watch the candy makers at work.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

Here Lee samples their gourmet banana split marshmallow - banana marshmallow drizzled with caramel and chocolate, topped with chopped peanuts and a cherry.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

Across the street is the big department store, Elias & Co. I never expected to be blown away by a shop, but this one blew me away. Each "department" has its own lighting and decor - and it's really beautiful.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

Here is the men's department (I loved the mannequins above!).

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

And the Girl's department - you can see how the color is very different.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

We went back over to Cars Land for lunch at Flo's V8 Cafe. The food was pretty good - more on that later.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

The "jukebox" on the counter has hits by the Motorama Girls.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

We also went through the stores - this is a sample of items in Ramone's. It has merchandise from all three Cars Land attractions.

This evening we went to the new Mad T Party in the Hollywood Land area. In addition to a live band (featuring the Mad Hatter and Alice), a DJ (the White Rabbit) and dancers, the "Who Are You" creature, a rainbow-colored human slinky, comes out and performs several times a night.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

Cars Land was closed and most of the production equipment had been removed, so there was a great view down Route 66.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

This evening we experienced a special World of Color show. As we walked back to Paradise Bay we were all given special Mickey ear hats with colored light-up ears. These "Glow with the Show" ears actually interact with the World of Color show and turn off and on and blink and flash different colors during the show.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

It's hard to explain but the effect was just stunning. I didn't know how they could make World of Color any better - but they did. It's hard to see in this picture, but the lights at the bottom are all ear hats. We also saw the new Brave sequence that's been added to World of Color.

Buena Vista Street and Cars Land

It's been another amazing day. No one puts on a show like Disney!

May 14, 2012

Disney California Adventure Press Preview Part 1 - 5/10/12

Since Laura was in a week-long training class at work, I (Lee) had the opportunity to take her place at a press event Disney put on for Southern California media to get a look behind the scenes at all the changes coming to the Disneyland Resort this Summer - especially the opening of Buena Vista Street and Cars Land at California Adventure.

This is Part One!

The first half of the event took place in what Disney calls its Cast Showcase at California Adventure. This is an immersive education venue that Disney built to familiarize all 22,000 Disneyland Resort cast members with all the changes taking place around the Disneyland Resort. The Showcase is currently occupying the soundstage venue at California Adventure that is used to hold Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. For those who have been through the Narnia or other "behind the scenes" exhibits for various films that have been installed at Disney Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, this has the same sort of feel. The Cast Showcase is supposed to run for 20 days.

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Our visit to the Cast Showcase began with a welcome by Tom Staggs, Chairman Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Tom said that Disney recognized that California Adventure was not living up to its potential and began a five year program to remake the park. Highlights so far include extensive changes to the Paradise Pier area, the Little Mermaid attraction, and the World of Color show. The re-imagined entrance and hub for California Adventure, Buena Vista Street, and the new 12-acre Cars Land complete that five-year effort. He explained that the Showcase covers not just the changes at California Adventure but also at Disneyland and Downtown Disney. It is not just about attractions but also about merchandising, food and beverage and entertainment. He remarked that when they re-open California Adventure it will finally be a worthy and complementary neighbor to Disneyland. Re-open was a deliberate choice of words - Disney views the magnitude of the changes and the shift in the story of California Adventure to be significant enough that they are considering this a second Grand Opening for the park.

Tom then circled back to talk about the Disney cast members who he said are the key to bringing the worlds that the Disney Imagineers build to life and to the guest experience. He said that the cast members will visit the Showcase because they love what they do - they are Disney fans and they want to know as much as possible to help their guests.

As his parting shot Tom shared a secret - along with all the other changes coming June 15th, there will be a new segment in World of Color featuring Pixar's latest animated feature 'Brave'.

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From here on out the Cast Showcase experience was what the cast members will see. The first room includes displays on the renovated Matterhorn - including one of the new ride vehicles - on the Mad T Party dance party coming to California Adventure (replacing ElecTRONica), and the new Fantasy Faire "Princess experience" area coming to Disneyland.This area also features a kitchen set for the "The Happy Chef" who acts as the master-of-ceremonies for this area of the exhibit. She is putting on a cooking demonstration making a celebratory cake and with each ingredient she adds to the cake there is a video segment from a Disney executive talking about an aspect of the changes. The first video is from George Kalogridis, President of Disneyland Resort, who greets the 22,000 cast members and Imagineers of Disneyland Resort and welcomes them to the cast showcase. He tells the cast members that this is the second largest expansion in the history of the Disneyland Resort and that "the happiest place on Earth just got happier."

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Artist concept drawings for the new Fantasy Faire "Princess experience" under construction at Disneyland

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A signboard explaining changes that will be coming to the Pixie Hollow character greeting area in Disneyland this Fall


Another of the video segments talks to all the changes taking place in Downtown Disney. Those changes include the extensive renovations to the Disneyland Hotel including replacing all the electrical and plumbing, expanding the rooms into the former balcony areas, and upgrading the furniture, carpet, and fittings. Other highlights include the renovated Lego store (we are getting giant Lego sculptures like those at Walt Disney World), the new Wunderground Gallery (Disney collectables), the new Earl of Sandwich restaurant (yea!) and the expanded La Brea Bakery.

The next video segment highlights the recently completed renovations to the "400 block" of Main Street in Disneyland. These changes include complete interior remodels of all the shops and restaurants, most in the Victorian style. The candy store now has a candy kitchen that is twice as big so guests can see two kinds of candy being made at once. The shops have more room for guests to move around and more cash registers to shorten waits to check out. The service area at the GIbson Girl ice cream shop has been moved back into the shop so the queue will now be inside instead of spilling out onto Main Street.

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The new Matterhorn ride vehicles

The segment highlighting changes within the Parks included a section on the Matterhorn. This is the first time it's been scaffolded since it was built which allowed them to paint it a new color and add new "snow", and is the first major rehab since 1978. The new ride vehicles are each two connected cars, each with three individual seat compartments instead of the single (shared) set compartment. They are building a new load area to support both a single rider line and load/unload for guests who need "assistance". The Matterhorn re-opens on June 15th.

The changeover from ElecTRONica to Mad T Party in the Hollywood area of California Adventure is almost complete - with a new central stage and the new House of Cards that replaces Flynn's Arcade. The featured act for the Mad T Party is the Mad T Party Band that includes the Mad Hatter and Alice as band members. They will perform for twenty minutes out of every hour and tunes the rest of the hour will be provided by a DJ (see the picture with the glowing bunny ears). There will be professional dancers featured at the House of Cards along with, if Glowfest and ElecTRONica are any indication, lots of dancing guests.

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Costumes for Alice and the Mad Hatter

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The Mad T Party DJ's costume

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Artist concept for the main stage for the Mad T Party

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Some of the merchandise that will be available at the Mad T Party

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Special food items that will be for sale at the Mad T Party

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The drinks available at the Mad T Party come in very interesting cups

There has been no formal announcement made that we are aware of, but there is a note on the map of California Adventure entertainment below, that reads "Daytime fountain show - our famous Paradise Pier fountains perform, dance and play - in the day".

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This map highlights the live performers and character "meet and greet" opportunities around California Adventure


We then moved to the second room in the exhibit - this one decorated like 1920's Los Angeles to highlight the new Buena Vista Street. Our host for this area was an actor playing an old time radio announcer - complete with impressions and sound effects. Various video segments, along with the static displays, told the story of Buena Vista Street and what guests can expect. Buena Vista Street represents Los Angeles as it was in the 1920's when Walt arrived with little more than "his suitcase and his dreams". Buena Vista Street actually starts with the entrance to California Adventure - the entrance turnstile area has been rebuilt to look like the Los Angeles' Pan Pacific Theater . The shops on Buena Vista street have been themed to have a connection to the young Walt Disney (Mortimer's Produce, Clarabelle's Ice Cream, Elias and Company) and the story is that they may have served as the inspiration for some of Walt's early stories and characters.

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Buena Vista Street ends in a new hub area with a new "partners" statue and a beautiful fountain that front the Carthay Circle Theater. Just in case you don't know the connection, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater in 1937. This Partners statue features a much younger Walt Disney and an earlier version of Mickey Mouse. The Carthay Circle Theater building will house three restaurants: a lounge downstairs that serves appetizers and "small plate" dishes, a full table service dining room upstairs that seats 200 inside and 56 more on the balcony, and the Club 33 associated private dining room - 1901.

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The fountain at the center of the new California Adventure hub. Image copyright ©Disney.

Running up and down Buena Vista Street and into the Hollywood area will be the two Red Car trolleys - based on the Pacific Electric Railroad trolleys that used to run in Los Angeles. Some interesting trivia for this attraction - the cars are based on the original Pacific Electric Railroad cars but are brand new and they are actually battery powered (so all the overhead wires are just set dressing). Their numbers are 623 (for 1923, the year Walt arrived in LA) and 717 (for the 7/17/55 opening day of Disneyland).

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Photos of various merchandise items that will be available in shops on Buena Vista Street


There are several new entertainment acts that have been created for Buena Vista Street. Five and Dime is a jazzy band (the Five) with vocalist Dime, who will perform from various locations using their car as their stage. The Red Car News Boys is a six-member group that will serve as the singing ambassadors of Buena Vista Street and may remind some of Disney's 'Newsies' movie and musical. Fans of the street performers in Disney Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World should enjoy the "Citizens of Buena Vista". These four characters include a policeman, a directionally-challenged messenger, a photographer and a slightly crazed dog lady and they will have impromptu interactions with guests making their way down Buena Vista Street. Guests will also regularly see Goofy dressed in a 20's era zoot suit on Buena Vista Street.

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Artist concept for Five and Dime. Image copyright ©Disney.

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A Red Car News Boy


Tomorrow "Cars Land" so be sure to check back!

March 22, 2011

Recent Disneyland Meals

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Thought I'd write about some of the new (to me) meals I've had at Disneyland over my last few trips.

The Village Haus in Fantasyland re-opened late last year with a somewhat new menu - I have to say I was happy to see a new twist on the the burgers and pizza they served before! They still serve burgers and pizza, but now in addition to the usual offerings they serve a burger with pastrami, horseradish sauce, and caramelized onions, and a BLT flatbread with bacon, caramelized onions, marinated tomatoes and arugula. In keeping with the Bavarian theme of the restaurant they also offer a chicken sausage in a pretzel roll, covered with sauerkraut, which was what I tried. It was pretty good - the sausage was tasty, though the pretzel roll was a little dry. And it needed more sauerkraut. But I enjoyed it and would order it again.

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Village Haus Menu

Troubadour Tavern is located next to Disney's Princess Fantasy Faire. Its offerings are more like substantial snacks than real meals. In addition to bratwurst and corn on the cob they offer three kinds of baked potatoes: broccoli and cheese, bacon and sour cream, and barbecued chicken. I ordered the bacon and sour cream potato, which also came with cheese and chives. I'm never quite sure what I'm going to get when I order a baked potato from a fast food place, but the one I had here was hot and fluffy and very good. They were pretty generous with all of the toppings, and it was petty filling for $6.29. I think next time I'd like to try either the broccoli and cheese or the barbecued chicken potato - those look good, too!

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Troubadour Tavern Menu

Tomorrowland Terrace has a Mahi Mahi Sandwich on the menu. The mahi mahi is marinated and baked, and served on a bun with cabbage and pico de gallo. I opted for the fruit instead of fries. It could have used something that would have given it a little bit more of a kick, but I'd order it again.

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Tomorrowland Terrace Menu

While Lee and I have done the World of Color Picnics several times, we had never done one of the World of Color Dinner Packages. I was surprised when I called on a Thursday and found plenty of availability for the next night - I had my choice of times at both restaurants!. We chose the Wine Country Trattoria - I hadn't been there since they re-opened last summer with the new menu.

There is now seating at the Trattoria both upstairs and downstairs, but the kitchen is not quite as well-equipped upstairs, so only World of Color diners are seated upstairs, since it has a smaller menu. (They also seat World of Color diners downstairs.) We were seated upstairs. The area is a large covered patio, and is open on the sides. It was a little chilly on this January night, but not too bad.

The World of Color Dinners are prix fixe - you have choice of soup or salad, and then a choice of six entrees. Dessert is a shared platter with small servings of four different desserts. It's $39.99, and at the end of dinner you receive tickets to the Reserved Viewing area for the World of Color show.

Since it was a cool evening Lee and I started with the minestrone soup. It's a very acceptable soup, but nothing to rave about.

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I chose Today's Sustainable Fish for my entree. I don't remember now what kind of fish it was but it was nicely cooked, moist, and served on a bed of tomato-vegetable ragu.

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Lee had the Braised Lamb Shank with polenta and some kind of greens. He really liked it - I had a few bites, too, and it was very good.

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I have to say I was disappointed in the desserts: Trattoria Tiramisu, Mini Fruit Crostada,
Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Fresh Fruit, and Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse with Lemon Cream. The mousse was pretty good, but the rest were just ok. We didn't finish the crostada or the tiramisu.

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I was surprised that there was an annual pass discount on the dining package, but there was, and our server even asked if we were AP holders (which they don't always do). Even with the discount, by the time we added tax, tip, and a couple glasses of wine it was a hundred dollar dinner.

Wine Country Trattoria World of Color Dinner Menu

We had tickets to the 8:00 World of Color show - even though it said to go to the viewing area at 7:30, and we went at 7:30, there were already LOTS of people in there. So, even in the reserved section we didn't get a prime spot, though we had a mostly unobstructed view. Still a great show, though. I hadn't see the Tron tag at the end from the viewing area - only from the side. It looks a lot better from the front.

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November 10, 2010

Disneyland New and Upcoming Events

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First the bad news...as announced November 3 on the Disney Parks Blog, there will be no Disney's California Food and Wine Festival in 2011 or 2012. The wording was such that some speculated that it just wouldn't be at DCA, but AllEars has verified with a Disney representative that there will be NO Festival.

I'm very disappointed, since this is one of my favorite events, but I can understand that the construction at DCA would make it difficult - some of the areas they have used in the past for the Festival will not be available. I'm still bummed, though.

Some things that are relatively new at the parks...

The Duffy the Disney Bear Meet and Greet location in Paradise Pier, next to Treasures in Paradise. Jeanine wrote about that in this blog entry. Those who visit the area get an "I Just Hugged Duffy" sticker.

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The Tangled Meet and Greet area is located in Fantasyland next to Pinocchio's Daring Journey. Guests can meet Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.

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The new Disney Dance Crew show debuted on October 22 at DCA's Hollywood Pictures Backlot theater, replacing the Drawn to the Magic show. The show features the new talking Mickey Mouse character, who can move his mouth and blink his eyes. This Mickey also has all the moves, as he brings together two rival dance crews. They perform to modern versions of classic Disney tunes - some of them rather surprising - like "A Pirate's Life for Me". After the show Mickey comes out to meet and greet guests - but this character is not the talking Mickey. Same costume, different head (and I'm guessing a different person inside, too!).

One fun thing I noticed - take a look at the glowing logo on the cover of the DJ's laptop. :-)

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The Disney Channel Rocks! show, which premiered in Florida on October 22 (see the AllEars page HERE, has been postponed until November 26. The new show, featuring music from the Disney Channel's "High School Musical" series, "Camp Rock" and "StarStruck" will be performed on the Palisades Stage in Paradise Park next to Paradise Bay in the morning and early afternoon.

In anticipation of the upcoming TRON: Legacy movie, opening in theaters December 17, there are several tie-ins at Disney California Adventure. ElecTRONica brings the world of TRON to the Hollywood Pictures Backlot Friday-Sunday nights (it will run nightly from December 17-January 2). In addition to the techno dance party in the streets, guests can view a 9-minute 3D preview of the movie in the MuppetVision theater, experience the LASERMAN show, or enjoy a "Glowjito" or "Digitini" at theEnd of Line Club. (For the true TRON geeks: I still have a computer system that displays "END OF LINE" on my screen when I log off.) And for a real blast from the past there's Flynn's Arcade, which has quite a selection of 1980s video games - everything from Air Hockey to Pac-man to, yes, the TRON game. One cool thing: the game tokens (25 cents each) actually are custom "Flynn's Arcade" tokens!

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According to a recent Disneyland press release, ElecTRONica will continue into spring, 2011.

There's also a new TRON: Legacy encore to World of Color - the very first one. We were told that adding encores was something they planned to do with World of Color, so it's great to see that we got one this soon after the show opened! The encore runs at the end of each World of Color show as that pesky Master Control Program manages to take control of the show for a while. Disney has stated that the encore will run for several months, so while there is no official end date, it will definitely be with us through the holidays and for some time beyond.

And speaking of the holidays...the Disneyland Resort's holiday celebration begins on Friday, November 12. At Disneyland this includes favorites like the "A Christmas Fantasy" parade, Sleeping Beauty Winter Castle, Santa's Reindeer Round-up, "it's a small world" Holiday, and the "Believe...in Holiday Magic" fireworks. Over at DCA the familiar candy cane-striped letters of "CALIFORNIA" will be back, as well as the over-sized ornaments and decorations at Flik's Fun Fair. Santa Claus will greet guests at Paradise Pier.

See the Holidays at Disneyland page for more information and photos.




July 23, 2010

World of Color Road Show - San Diego

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The World of Color Road Show is in San Diego July 22-25. As announced in this press release, Disney has been taking its new nighttime spectacular "on the road" to the cities of San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

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Since you can't really take the fountains and lasers and lights to a remote location, what's really happening is that in each city different animation sequences, which showcase themes and characters that actually appear in the show, are projected onto a large surface in that area. In San Diego, that happens to be the side of the U.S.S. Midway, an aircraft carrier that is now a museum. Yeah, that's a pretty large surface! There are different shows with different themes for each city - for San Diego, the theme, appropriately enough, is "Water", and includes scenes from The Little Mermaid, Finding Nemo, Fantasia and Fantasia 2000, Alice in Wonderland, Pocahontas, and Bambi. Even classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio make an appearance.

Though it sounds like something to experience in person, this is only intended to be an on-line experience, where those interested visit the www.WorldofColorRoadShow.com to actually see (and even participate!) in the show. The on-line experience runs nightly from 9:00-11:30 p.m. on July 22-25. If you missed the live broadcast in San Diego, you can still catch the webcast for Los Angeles, which will occur on July 29-31 and August 1 from 9-11:30 p.m.

We'll have more footage of the show in the next couple of days after Lee has had a chance to edit the video he took, but in the meantime here's a taste of it, courtesy of Disney:

I have to say I think my favorite moment is the little bucket-carrying broom at the end - he appears at the very end and closes all of the shows.




June 21, 2010

Random Thoughts on World of Color Opening Weekend at Disneyland

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I spent the better part of three days at Disneyland last week...just thought I'd share some random observations and thoughts on various things.

World of Color - I like this show more every time I see it - I see new things in it every time! Some of that is because of seeing it from different angles - you see different things depending on which projection screen you have the best view of.

The projection screens are VERY affected by wind - the first two times I saw the show the projections seemed a bit unclear to me as compared to images Disney released before the show open. But on Saturday night the wind was down and the images were VERY clear for the first 2/3 of the show, and really looked great.

I am disappointed in the viewing area, though - just about any where you are in the viewing area your view is going to be blocked by one of the light towers that's down by the water. When we watched it on Saturday we had a tower that was right in the middle of our view of the main projection screen.

We watched the show from the side (in front of California Screamin') one night. It was a great spot to watch the fountains from. And they present a different look when viewed from the side - we thought that you can better see just what they are doing. There were very few people back there - we could've walked up right before the show started and had our choice of spots. Of course it was the third show...so it's probably not that empty for the first two.

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World of Color Picnic: We did this Saturday night. I still think it's a terrific value! For Annual Passholders it's $12.99, and for that you get a bottled drink (worth $3), a reusable tote bag (and they were giving one per meal rather than just one per order), which is worth another $3-$4, and then you also get a nice snack PLUS a Fastpass for World of Color that you didn't have to wait in line for 30-90 minutes to get! I had the Mediterranean Vegetarian meal this time, and it seemed to be quite a bit more food than you get with the other meals - the vegetable wrap was a pretty normal size. So that picnic meal really was a meal for me. One thing we learned at the Round Robin session about the picnic meals: they will pre-sell up to 425 on the web site for each night, and up to 400 for same-day picnic sales at the park.

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Landscaping: Disney always does a great job with their landscaping, but I thought these World of Color-inspired plantings were especially colorful.

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Toy Story Midway Mania - the new game and Toy Story 3 characters have been added. Dino Darts, hosted by Rex and Trixie, replaces Bo-Peep's Baa-loon Pop. The game itself is the same, but the background and elements have been changed to reflect the new hosts. I saw Buttercup the Unicorn in one of the other games, but did not see Lotso, who is also in the ride somewhere.

Crowds: Disney California Adventure was really not crowded at all on Friday or Saturday - we rode Toy Story Mania Saturday afternoon with only a 25 minute wait! On Friday night Disneyland was not too crowded, either - it was the fewest people I've ever seen at the first showing of Fantasmic!. But we thought (hoped) that might be the case because most of the die-hard fans would be trying to catch the first night of World of Color.

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The California Letters: The letters in front of DCA that spell out "CALIFORNIA" have been changed again - World of Color colors.

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Silly Symphony Swings: This attraction is re-theming of the Orange Stinger attraction, so riders still sit in swings that are lifted into the air and then the ride spins around. The old attraction had an "orange peel" around it, so it was somewhat enclosed. The newer one doesn't have that. I think it's taller and spins faster than the old one, but other people tell me it just seems that way because it's all open now. In any case, it's still a lot of fun, though I come of it slightly dizzy. Some tandem swings have been added to the new version, so that an adult and a child can ride together. Those seemed to be quite popular - and they also had a shorter line!

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Minnie & Friends Breakfast in the Park: Deb, Lee and I went to this character breakfast at the Plaza Inn in Disneyland on Saturday morning. We were there just after the park opened, so it was not too busy yet. The characters were really full of it, and were great fun. Deb commented that they interacted with each other a lot more than she sees in Florida. For example, Captain Hook locked Max, Chip, Dale and Rafiki out on the patio - until Minnie came along and scolded him. Later I suggested to Dale that if he was looking for some mischief, that he should go steal the Mad Hatter's hat - and he went over to try to do it. There were quite a few characters there, too - in addition to the aforementioned there were also Alice and the Mad Hatter, Gepetto, (who had a mustache-twirling contest with Captain Hook), Eeyore, and Rabbit (from Winnie-the-Pooh). The food was pretty good, too - it was not as huge a selection as they have at Storytellers, but they had made-to-order omelets that I think we all enjoyed.

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Glow Fest: We saw this on Saturday night, the first night they had the drummers and dancers performing. It's very colorful and different - and also quite loud.

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The Bollywood Step Dance group (all the way from Yorba Linda!) was fascinating to watch - modern dance meets India? I don't know how to describe it. Here's the description from their web page: "The Bollywood dance style incorporates the fusion of Hip Hop, Jazz, Salsa, East Indian Classical, Folk, and Bhangra dancing." Really elaborate and beautiful costumes, and they were very energetic - I don't know how they will keep up that pace all night!

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Everything starts on the stage in Sunshine Plaza, then later in the evening moves back into the Hollywood Backlot, where it becomes more of a street party, with the focus more on the guests dancing and enjoying themselves rather than watching entertainers perform. Lots of glowing things - glowing tables, glowing beverages, glowing bracelets (red, green, and blue - blue seemed to be the popular color!), glowing balloons, glowing light swords, and even glowing cotton candy.

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Looks like it's going to be a great summer!

June 17, 2010

World of Color Merchandise

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise can (at this point) mainly be found in three locations. As you enter Disney California Adventure, there is a merchandise store on the left side "Greetings from California". It has a basic merchandise display sporting T-shirts, cups, glassware, bracelets ...

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

... a micro-fiber black blanket, limited edition matted litho.....

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

Some merchandise is available for purchase exclusively by Annual Passholders. This includes the shirts pictured below: a t-shirt, hooded sweatshirt and a women's t-shirt. A commemorative coin and AP exclusive pins are also available. In some locations this merchandise is out on display, in others it is kept behind the counter and you have to ask for it.

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

The widest variety of merchandise and limited edition pins are found in the Paradise Pier shopping district, at Treasures in Paradise across from Ariel's Grotto, and at Point Mugu Tattoo.

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

World of Color Merchandise  at Disney's California Adventure

If you are looking for pins, be sure and hit the Paradise Pier stores.

A Disney Vacation Club pin is available, unfortunately, I did not have my DVC membership card with me in California. You could also purchase an Annual Passholder pin ($7.95) which is labeled as exclusive! In fact, the AP pin was available on at the online DisneyStore prior to World of Color opeining, but is no longer available.

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You can find the pins on the Disney Pin trading site. When I shopped on 6/14, the Opening Day pin (LE 1500 $11.95) was sold out. The other Limited Edition pins (1200 $9.95) were available.

The Opening Day pin has an edition size of 1500 and features the beautiful Sprite from Disney's Fantasia 2000. Six other individual pins - with an edition size of 1200 - depict Alice in Wonderland, Crush and Squirt, Sebastian, Woody and Buzz, Scar, and Pocahontas. These six pins can also be purchased in a collector set, which includes a completer pin with the logo for the World of Color. The collectors set has an edition size of 300. For the ultimate collector, the World of Color framed set includes the six individual pins plus two completer pins: the World of Color Logo and Tinker Bell. The Tinker Bell pin - found only within the framed set - has an edition size of just 100.

June 14, 2010

World of Color--Opening Day Picnic

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By now, I suspect everyone likely to read this has already read a plethora of information about World of Color (WoC) and its various permutations of seating arrangements. One of the methods of obtaining seating in the desirable "Paradise Park" location is buying a picnic meal either in advance, online, or on the same day, walk-up. I tried this out for the first public showing of WoC, and had some observations.

Initially, the picnics were said to cost $14.99 with no discounts, and would be available online on 6/11. Ultimately, it turned out that the picnics cost $12.99 with an AP discount, and were available online starting the morning of 6/10. On picking up the picnics, signs were up stating the picnics cost $13.99 so it may be the pricing is still in flux. Orders placed online were given Fastpasses for the 9:00pm show, while walk-ups were given passes for the 10:15pm show. While picnics were not available for purchase on the day of the show until 2pm, there was a huge line present by around 10:00am, at which time they started giving out wristbands so people could leave and come back later, assured that the picnics would not run out before they got theirs.

I asked the CM handling the line whether it was more/less advantageous to come earlier or later in the 2pm-8pm pickup time frame, he said that it didn't matter--everyone was either going to get Yellow or Green viewing areas, and they were directly adjacent. We returned around 6:30pm, and received Yellow.

The picnics each came in their own commemorative tote bag:
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I had the Asian picnic which was, for the most part, decent.
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The salmon was a little dry but still manageable. The soba noodles were surprisingly good, and the mandarin orange cake was better than I had expected, being largely made of some sort of mousse filling rather than dry cake. What wasn't good were the spring rolls, which were essentially julienned cucumber and carrot mixed together in a rice paper wrapper. The cucumber and carrot were completely bland, and the wrapper was so soft and damp that it proved impossible to dunk it into the dipping sauce without the whole thing exploding in a messy heap of vegetables.

The Fastpasses told us to go directly to the viewing area 30-90 minutes prior to the show. The interesting part about the viewing area is that it is divided up into sections by color, but there are no permanent markers delineating different sections. This leaves me to believe that they could conceivably change the location of a color whenever they want, in which case there would be no real way to know how good a section you scored until you got placed in it. In this first night's viewing, Blue was the section most directly opposite the water screens, with Orange behind them, and Green adjacent to them. Yellow was on the other side of Green, and farthest off to the side was Red. While initially it seemed as though there would be three tiers of viewing areas (average for the regular Fastpass holders, better for picnickers, best for sit-down package holders,) it rapidly became evident that there were only two -- Blue for the dining packages, and everything else for everyone else.

Anyone who had looked at the Paradise Park area in advance could probably have predicted that the viewing would be somewhat problematic by how shallow the tiering was constructed. The bottom tier appears to have the closest view, but offers the best chance of getting drenched through the progress of the show. The successive levels each offer good views in the front, but the people in back are generally stuck looking at the back of heads, and the occasional child riding his parent's shoulders. Additionally, the show uses several different water screens at different distances from the audience -- the screens in the back and the middle are mostly visible from the majority of the area, however the closest screen really only seems discernible if you're sitting in the Blue section, or pretty close to it. The other sections curve around, so that you end up looking at the screen from the edge side, making the already-soft-focus picture often unidentifiable.

There is no sitting in the areas. Some of the people had gotten there early and were all sitting down in their sections, only to have the CMs tell them to stand up, and then place later arrivals in front of them. This led to some decidedly un-magical feelings.

To help keep the packed-in crowd from rioting and bloodshed, Disney provides a pre-show with large color-marked puppets that wander around for the half-hour prior to showtime inciting people to sing and holla their general enjoyment.
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The show itself is spectacular -- the mastery of color and water it displays is amazing and thoroughly worth all the trouble and hoops you might have to suffer to enjoy it from a decent vantage point.
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During a subsequent show, I watched it from the back of Paradise Pier, and while the images on the screens were only occasionally identifiable, the view of the fountains and their movements was excellent. While it certainly wouldn't be my first choice, you can definitely get a reasonable appreciation for the show without getting a Fastpass of any kind.

The only thing I would give a pass to, is the "Glow Fest" they developed for the people in the Hollywood Picture Backlot. In the first place, the Sun Plaza and the Backlot are decorated up with fairly loud and garish signage with an inexplicable emphasis on fluorescent yellow. We thought perhaps it would look better with special lighting, at night, but it was more or less the same. The backdrop that makes up the end of the street was covered over with projections of a tetris-like pattern, and colored shadows of dancing figures. There was a handful of people dancing in the streets to exceptionally loud music, but most seemed to be availing themselves of the booths in the middle of the street which were selling a variety of alcoholic beverages such as Cosmopolitans, in souvenir martini glasses. The odd part was that, at least at the booth I examined, there weren't any similarly festive non-alcoholic options -- just bottles of water. Although no doubt entertaining for many, it left me with the same impression George Bailey got when he found Bedford Falls turned into Pottersville.
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On the whole, I thought Disney did a relatively good job of coming up with a variety of affordable options by which people can guarantee themselves a place to see the show. With time, it seems likely that they'll continue to fine-tune and improve the admittedly rocky arrangements they have now.

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June 11, 2010

World of Color Premiere

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Deb Wills and I were fortunate to be able to attend the World of Color Premiere event tonight. It was an amazing experience - I like World of Color more every time I see it.

We posted a short video to youtube earlier this evening with highlights from World of Color from the dress rehearsal last week. You can see that here (and thanks to Lee for doing the editing on it!)

It's really too late to try to tell you much about it, so I'll just share some photos for now.

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Our Master (Mouster?) of Ceremonies was the one and only Mickey Mouse - but this was the *talking* Mickey that you may have seen several weeks ago - his mouth moves along with what he's saying, and he can blink his eyes. In fact, he even joked with Teri Hatcher that he needed to take a second photo with her because he thought his eyes had been closed! It was pretty cool!

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I was able to watch a lot more of the show this time, though I still took both pictures and video. As I said, I like it more each time I see it - I'm sure I will continue to notice new things in it for a long time to come. This photo shows some of the laser effects.

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And more fountains doing more things:

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What? The show is over already???

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Afterwards, Deb had the opportunity to interview Disneyland Ambassador Quinn Shurian about the Summer Nightastic! events, and also about his position as one of the Disneyland Ambassadors.

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She also spoke to Sayre Wiseman, Director, Show Production, Walt Disney Imagineering, about the World of Color, something Sayre has been involved in from its inception. We'll have the interviews on-line as soon as possible.

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We'll have lots more video to come - Deb interviewed Bob Iger, Tom Staggs (President of Disney Parks and Resorts) and George Kalogridis (among others) on the blue carpet, and of course we'll have her interviews with Sayre Wiseman and Quinn Shurian.

Lots more events tomorrow!

June 10, 2010

World of Color - First Impressions

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This isn't going to be a review, really - more of a collection of my thoughts and impressions now that I've seen World of Color.

My overall impression: I really liked it, but I'm really looking forward to seeing it when I'm not trying to get pictures/video of it.

So even though I've now seen it twice I don't really think I can give a "review" of it. The first time I saw it was from our room at the Grand Californian, where we were off to the side and could see the fountains but could not see the mist screens (and the projections on them) at all.

The second time was at a dress rehearsal, when I was in the actual viewing area, but to be honest I watched most of it through the view finder on the video camera, so I really don't feel like I experienced the show - I saw more of it when I watched the video after I got home than I did in person!

But I enjoyed what I saw, and I'm anxious to see it again. The scale of it is just enormous, and even from the viewing area you can't actually see the whole thing at once - there are things going on in front of you, and things going on off to the side, too. And so much happening all at once that my brain just couldn't process it all. For example, one thing I noticed on watching the video is at the end of the "UP" sequence: as the house pulled by its thousands of colorful balloons flies up out of sight there is one solitary "Mickey" balloon that floats under it.

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A lot of what Disney has posted on-line has been computer generated images, so I have to say I was a little disappointed that the actual projections on the mist screens were not nearly as crisp and clear as I was expecting. But the projections add a lot to the experience, and the show was much better when I saw it from the front where I could see the projections than when I viewed it from the side with no projections.

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But the fountains are amazing - there are so many of them, and they do so many different things, and in so many colors. They dance and play and sway and pop and seem to float in the air. I have to say that the ones that go really, really, high are just awesome. They put an exclamation point on certain sequences.

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We got a lot of information on World of Color and things that we could expect to see in it last May, and then again at the D23 Expo in September. But a fair number of those things are actually not in the final version - like the Alice in Wonderland sequence with the paper sculpture animations and the "Little Squirt" fountain character. Some things that were added are characters from The Princess and the Frog - Tiana and Prince Naveen, and Dr. Facilier - the "balloon house" from UP and the Genie from Aladdin.

The music is terrific - selections from classic Disney animated movies as well as newer ones - Under the Sea, Friend Like Me, April Showers, and Night on Bald Mountain, just to name a few. Some very different arrangements of Part of Your World and April Showers. And of course there's the signature "Wonderful World of Color" which opens and closes the show - and just a warning, it has serious earworm potential. :-)

In addition to the projections on the mist screens, there are also projection domes that rise up out of the water, and images are projected on those - sometimes it's a smaller (and clearer) version of what's on the main water screen, and sometimes it's completely different.

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There are some light-hearted moments with Dory and Marlin, Wall-E, the Genie, and Buzz and Woody, and more touching moments with Mufasa and Simba, Belle and the Beast, and Wall-E and Eve.

The fire effects during the Pirates of the Caribbean sequence are really cool.

I was surprised to see lights on Mickey's Fun Wheel at certain places in the show, but they serve to accent everything else that's going on.

One of my favorite moments is towards the end, when the projection of Sorcerer Mickey seems to be conducting the fountains.

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The finale is terrific, a reprise of Wonderful World of Color, where many of the characters we've seen throughout the show return, almost like they are taking a bow. But the real stars of this show are the fountains!

We'll be posting a short video with highlights from World of Color to youtube tonight at 9:00 - you can either find it on the AllEars channel: http://youtube.com/allearsnet or keep an eye on the main page of AllEars where we will have a link to it.

World of Color Picnic Meals went on sale this morning at www.disneyland.com. I ordered ours for Saturday night - it was very quick and easy. If you're an Annual Passholder and logged in to their site with your user name and password then you get a discount - $12.99 instead of $14.99. So it makes it an even better deal!


June 2, 2010

World of Color Viewing & Dining Options & Miscellaneous Info

At the World of Color event the other night they spent a lot of time telling us about the options guests have for viewing World of Color from the Viewing area - this of course is one question that I think almost all of us have had!

Disney put out a fairly comprehensive press release, but here's a few additional details.

World of Color will be visible from all around Paradise Bay (except where there are buildings or attractions in the way, of course) but the prime viewing area will be Paradise Park, the new terraced area they recently finished. Access to this area for World of Color will be limited to those who have a ticket for it. There are two different areas: General Viewing and Preferred Reserved Viewing. And there are multiple ways to get a ticket.

The "no cost" version for the General Viewing area is something we're all familiar with - a FASTPASS. FASTPASSES will be distributed beginning at park opening at the Grizzly River Run FASTPASS machines until they are all gone. You may not choose which show you want to attend. The FASTPASS ticket will also indicate which entrance you should use to enter the viewing area.

Preferred Reserved Viewing is available to those who have booked the World of Color dining package at either Ariel's Grotto or Wine Country Trattoria. Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance by calling (714) 781-DINE. Both locations offer a prix fixe menu. Prices for the Trattoria are $39.99 for adults and $18.99 for children ages 3-9. The price at Ariel's Grotto varies depending on whether it is indoor or outdoor seating, at this point, indoor seating is $36.99 for adults and $20.99 for children.

Here are the World of Color Prix Fixe menus for the Trattoria:
Adult Menu
Kid's Menu

The World of Color menu for Ariel's Grotto is the same as their usual menu, with the exception that the conch shell dessert has been replaced by a World of Color "filmstrip" dessert.

Ariel's Grotto Adult Menu
Ariel's Grotto Kid's Menu

The third option is the World of Color Picnic. Guests with this option receive a General Viewing FASTPASS ticket. For $14.99 (same price for adults and kids) guests receive a boxed meal and a non-alcoholic beverage. Kid's meals also come with a light-up bracelet. All meals are served cold. Adults have four meal choices and kids have three choices (I will describe them in more detail below). The picnics can only be reserved on-line or as a walk-up on the day of the show: they can NOT be reserved by calling Disneyland Dining. All are subject to availability. (As of this writing, even though the press materials say meals can be reserved 60 days in advance, if you go to the web site they are only available for 30 days - if you are looking for a reservation more than 30 days out I suggest you keep trying the web site periodically in case this policy changes.) Meals that are reserved on-line will have tickets to the first show, walk-ups will have tickets to the second show.

Meals must be picked up at the Sonoma Terrace of the Golden Vine Winery, which is on the far left side of the building, anytime from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Each order comes in a World of Color tote bag. We are hoping to try out the picnic meal option on opening weekend, and will definitely report on that!

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Here are the available menus:

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Disney provided two of the adult meals for us to sample, The European Antipasto:

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And The Taste of Asia:

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I had the Taste of Asia, and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The salmon, though cold, still had a very good flavor (and I usually dislike cold fish), and the spring roll had lots of crunchy vegetables. The udon noodle salad was also very tasty. The mandarin orange cake was ok - but that has more to do with it not being chocolate than with any shortcoming in the cake, which was moist and flavorful, and not overwhelmingly orange.

I sampled a couple of things from the European Antipasto meal, also. The Caprese Salad skewer, with mozzarella bites and cherry tomatoes, was good. I did not try any of the cheese or meats (though those I was sharing the meal with enjoyed them). The chocolate covered tiramisu cake was very nice - I only had a bite of it, but I liked it much better than the mandarin orange cake.

Now, bear in mind that none of these "meals" are very big - for most people they would not be enough food to count as a dinner. But I think it's a great value - $14.99 includes the meal, drink AND a ticket to World of Color!!! I'd pay that much just for the ticket alone, so having food and beverage thrown in is a bonus as far as I'm concerned. Now, we'll see where the "Reserved Viewing" area is actually located, but it's hard to imagine that anything in the Viewing area is going to have a view that's totally obstructed.

Another item we got to sample is some colored and multi-flavored popcorn, which comes in a souvenir translucent World of Color popcorn bucket. I think it's like Kool-Aid popcorn - the different flavors are cherry, grape, blueberry and kettle corn, and it's very sweet. Though I found it a little bit addicting - it's a good thing I only had a small serving and not a whole bucket.

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Another food offering that sounds like fun is the Light Up Cotton Candy. We didn't get to see or sample this, but it's described as white cotton candy with a colored swirl, with a light stick inside that makes it glow. Sounds like something that will be a huge hit with kids.

There will also be a selection of "glowing" drinks for sale, either in light-up souvenir glasses, or with a light-up swizzle stick.

New merchandise will add its own glow - new balloons with light-up World of Color art inside, and light-up bracelets. There will also be World of Color popcorn buckets, travel mugs and sipper cups. And we can also expect the usual World of Color-themed merchandise like t-shirts, fleece and hats. You can see some samples of it HERE. (I like the fountains with the Fun Wheel in the background.)

World of Color - Disney California Adventure

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Last night I was very fortunate to attend a dress rehearsal of the new World of Color spectacular that debuts June 11th! While I am sure many of you are anxiously awaiting a review, you'll have to wait a bit longer. I won't be posting my review until after the media preview on June 10th.

Information is now available on various Dining Options that include a reserved viewing and information on obtaining a FASTPASS for the show.

I am able to share with you 3 photographs provided by Disney:

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April 17, 2010

World of Color Full Run-Through April 16, 2010

Lee and I are staying in the Villas at the Grand Californian for our Food and Wine weekend. I requested a Paradise Pier view when I booked it, and we got one - we are on the 4th floor.

We knew that World of Color testing was going on, so hoped to see some of that, but last night around 10:30 after DCA closed we saw something even better - what looked to be a full run-through, complete with sound, of the much-anticipated World of Color show.

We are off to the side, so were not able to see the projections on the mist screens at all, but had a pretty good view of the fountains. Since this wasn't planned, Lee didn't have a tripod, so the camera was hand-held and a little shaky in places. It's about 25 minutes long, so we posted it to youtube in three parts.

Here it is - hope you enjoy!



Disney's California Food and Wine Festival 2010 Opening Weekend - Part 1

Today was opening day for the 2010 edition of Disney's California Food and Wine Festival. Wow...I'm not even sure where to begin!

I'll start with a little bit of a World of Color update, though. (For which there is still no official opening date, unfortunately!) The construction walls around the viewing area are finally down (came down last week), and when we arrived they were actually testing some of the fountains.

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Here's a look at some of the viewing area, which is called Paradise Park.

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And here's something you don't see every day - blue-suited Disney Divers!

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But back to the Festival...

The Festival is certainly bigger than ever, with more events, more demos, more guest chefs, more merchandise and more food and wine offerings than ever before.

This year's theme is The Art of Flavor, and new banners are set up all over the park.

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In past years it has been centered mostly in the Golden Vine Winery and Pacific Wharf areas, but this year, partly because of all of the construction going on, most of the activity takes place in Stage 12 of the Hollywood Pictures Backlot (now called the Festival Showplace), and in the Chef's Showcase Stage which is still in Sunshine Plaza.

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The Festival Showplace is home to the Wine, Beer, and Spirits demos. I think it's going to be very nice to have those in an indoor area - in past years the wine and beer got much too warm sitting outside on a hot day. This area is also where the Sweet Sundays events will be held, again, much nicer in an area where you can control the elements and not worry about the wind blowing things over, or stray leaves falling into the food! (I had a leaf fall into my wine glass last year.)

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The new Star Lounge is also located in the Festival Showplace. It offers Belgian beers, Festival wines and even some special cocktails.

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The Wine "Seller" has a large selection of bottles of wines from wineries appearing at the Festival. In addition there's a larger selection of Festival merchandise than I've ever seen, with more of a variety. While browsing there we met All Ears reader Kimberly who had come all the way from American Samoa! Hello Kimberly!

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I'll talk more about the Taste of California Marketplace later.

Also back in the Hollywood Backlot area is the Belgian Brewer's Collection and the area used for the Jr. Chef program.

The Wine and Beer Walks have moved from the Pacific Wharf area to the walkway between Grizzly Peak and "a bug's land".

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I was able to interview Moises Carranza, the chef d'cuisine at the Blue Bayou (or the "world famous Blue Bayou", as he told me.)

And I also spoke to April Ventura, Sommelier at the Golden Vine Winery, about the soon-to-reopen Wine Country Trattoria restaurant.

For lunch, the Disney people gave us a $25 gift card (the same type of wrist card they have at Epcot's F&W Festival) that we could use at the Taste of California Marketplace. I'm SO glad this is back this year - last year they didn't offer it because of restaurant renovations that were going on at the time. This year it's in the new Festival Showplace, which used to be the Hollywood and Dine food court when DCA first opened, but has been closed for years. Anyway...they offer 10 different food items - we tried about 5 of them. (I will get a menu posted to the F&W page Real Soon.)

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For fountain drinks, rather than the usual serve-yourself they had one of those new Freestyle Coca-Cola beverage dispensers that lets you pick from a couple of menus to customize your beverage.

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First you pick a type of beverage, such as Coke Zero or Dasani Water, and then on the next menu you can pick a flavor to add to it.

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Supposedly there's over 400 flavor combinations possible. There's more information on it on this Wikipedia page. It was fun to try it.

I think the consensus among the five of us dining together was that the Beer Battered Halibut was the most outstanding - it was featherlight and crispy. Really wonderful.

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The Karl Strauss Pale Ale and Canadian White Cheddar Cheese Soup is back - always a Festival favorite. And this year I have the recipe for it - it was included in our press kit. I will be posting that.

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More on other things we tried later.

We were able to attend Guy Fieri's cooking demo - which was VERY popular - people arrived at park opening and immediately got in line to get into it, even though the demo didn't start until 3:30!!! I'd really never seen him before, but he was very entertaining and well-spoken. He brought his 13-1/2 year-old son Hunter up on stage to help him out- and it was Hunter who actually did most of the cooking! They made Lemongrass Chicken and Green Papaya Slaw. Fieri is the host of the new show Minute to Win It, and actually brought three audience members up front to play the "Face the Cookie" game. One guy almost managed to do it before the time ran out.

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He told us that he wasn't feeling well and was loaded up on Claritin-D and only operating at about half his normal energy level - if that was Guy Fieri at half-strength, wow...I think he'd be downright scary at full strength! :-)

Afterwards we had the opportunity for a short interview with him - we'll have more on that later.

As we were leaving the Chef's Showcase stage area, we saw a new group, The Jammin' Chefs, who were performing at the entrance to Sunshine Plaza. Percussion, tap dancing, and even getting audience members to participate in a game of Follow the Leader (drumstyle) and a conga line. Lots of fun to watch.

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This year's Festival also features special menu items at most of the counter service restaurants around DCA, so we tried a combination of those for dinner.

First was the Southwest Pulled Pork Sandwich from Taste Pilot's Grill. This is pulled pork in chipotle bbq sauce with caramelized apples and onions on a toasted cornmeal bun. This was good, except that the apples and onions had a really odd flavor - tasted of something that wasn't apples and onions so we didn't enjoy it as much as we had expected to.

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Next was the Thai Rice Spring Roll from the Lucky Fortune Cookery. Rice noodles with carrots, green onions, basil and red bell peppers wrapped in a rice paper wrapper and served with ginger sauce. Not bad, but a bit small for $3.99.

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Last but not least was the Anaheim Chile Relleno from Cocina Cucamonga. Battered Anaheim chiles stuffed with cheese and covered in Ranchero sauce. Served with rice and beans, guacamole and pico de gallo. I thought the sauce was overwhelming on this - it was a little too spicy, and I couldn't taste the chile relleno until I scraped the sauce off. Other than that I really enjoyed it.

We also did the California Classics Wine Walk. This was quite popular - it was pretty crowded when we went in. For $10 each we were able to sample four different wines out of the 12 that were available. I have to say that I was really impressed - I really enjoyed all of the wines that I tried, and Lee did, too. Between the two of us we tried 7 of the 12 - we both had the Tobin James Zinfandel, which was awesome.

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There we met All Ears reader Yvonne from Florida, and her friends whose names I didn't catch. They were out visiting the California parks for the first time - though compared to Epcot's Food and Wine Festival they were a bit underwhelmed by the one here. And I understand that - there's not the variety of foods here - it's more about the events than "eating around the park".

A couple of special treats tonight after we returned to our room - we were able to see Disney's Electrical Parade (soon to be on its way to Florida) from our room - sort of. With all of the construction walls that are between us and the parade route we could really only see the taller floats.

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And even more exciting - we were able to see a run-through of the World of Color show, which they did about an hour after the park closed. Video of that will be posted soon, if it hasn't been already. It was pretty cool - we were off to the side and couldn't see the projections on the mist screens at all, but the fountains themselves were pretty amazing!

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It was a great day!



January 19, 2010

Disneyland Rovings and Ravings - Part Deux

Part 2 of my photos and observations from my trip to Disneyland on Friday.

I'll start with the resorts, since that's actually where I began my day - walked there from the Pinocchio Parking Lot (I arrived early enough that I was parked outside in the Pinocchio lot rather than inside the garage, which suited me since the walk from there is a little shorter to/from the hotels).

The remodeling of the Dreams Tower at the Disneyland Hotel still continues - it looks to be about halfway done. If anyone has the opportunity to stay in the new rooms please send us some photos!

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At the Paradise Pier, the new Surf's Up Breakfast with Mickey has replaced the Lilo and Stitch character breakfast. It's a breakfast buffet - there is no longer an a la carte menu. Stitch is still at the breakfast, along with Mickey, of course, but no Lilo. The buffet includes: an omelet station, breakfast flatbreads, Mickey waffles, chocolate peanut butter banana French toast, smoothies, parfait station, chilaquiles and smoked salmon. $25.99 for adults and $13.99 for kids, tax and 15% gratuity will be added.

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For those who would like a hot breakfast but not the buffet, the Surfside Lounge is offering breakfast now in addition to the usual coffee and pastries. The menu is HERE.

A number of things going on at DCA. The construction walls are still up around Paradise Bay, but they have finished the structure they were building at the end of the bridges between Paradise Pier and Pacific Wharf so those walls are down, and that makes it not quite so claustrophobic. This looks like a big light and speaker tower to me.

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And of course work on the World of Color show is continuing in the bay itself.

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The bay has been refilled and so the nice reflections are back again.

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There's still plenty of construction walls up all around Paradise Pier, but the ones between the bay and the former Golden Dreams attraction have been moved closer to the bay so that there is a little more room to walk now. A wall completely blocks the walkway in front of Jumping Jellyfish so you have to go around the S.S. Rustworthy past Pizza Oom Mow Mow for the moment.

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The Wine Country Trattoria and the Wine Terrace are both closed while the restaurant is being remodeled - it is scheduled to open again in April. And while we're talking about food and restaurants, here's a reminder that Disney's Calfornia Food and Wine Festival returns from April 16-May 31. No information on the schedule or events is available yet, though.

Big changes back in the Hollywood Backlot area - the center of the street is blocked by construction walls, and you have to go up one side or the other depending on whether you want to go to Playhouse Disney and the Animation Building or the rest of the backlot area.

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The reason? The tracks for the Red Trolley are going in, and the trolley itself is supposed to open later this year.

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The walkway is so narrow that they have had to close Award Weiners - there's no room for the line for this popular counter-service restaurant.

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On the construction walls are vintage Disney movie posters.

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There's a new Annual Passport Processing Center in the far corner of the backlot, which was a food court restaurant called Hollywood & Dine when the park first opened, but has been closed for years. I was told this location is "temporary", but not just how "temporary" it is.

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I tried something I'd never had before - I was in DCA early enough that the Pacific Wharf Cafe was still serving breakfast AND I was actually hungry. I really like their soups and salads in bread bowls, but for breakfast they serve scrambled eggs in a bread bowl. It also came with two slices of nice crisp bacon and some fruit - a bunch of grapes and some sliced oranges. The eggs were a little dry but everything else was excellent. The eggs need a little oomph, so I got a couple of packets of salsa from Cocina Cucamonga. No way I could eat all that bread, and I ended up taking most of it home where it made for a fine soup bowl for some homemade split pea soup that night. For $5.99 it was good and very reasonably priced. The breakfast menu is HERE. I don't think the breakfast menu has changed at all in the five years I've been collecting menus for AllEars - I keep expecting the prices to go up.

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There's a couple new stores that have opened in Downtown Disney recently. D Street is Vinylmation central, but they also carry "cutting edge apparel" for men and women as well as other collectibles and artwork.

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But my favorite new store is The Cupcake Store, which is located at the end of Downtown Disney near the ESPN Club. It's a little shop right in the center, which sells gourmet cupcakes. They are nicely decorated with flowers, chocolate, candy sprinkles, etc. There's vanilla, yellow cake, chocolate, red velvet, and vanilla coconut and they are $4.95 each. I'm not sure why I took a photo of the shop and didn't take any pictures of the cupcakes!

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Something that is not new, but I'd never noticed before, is this remote-control boat area on the side of the Rainforest Cafe. There was no one playing with it when I was there, so I don't know how popular it really is.

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And that brings us to the end of my ravings - for now, at least.

July 17, 2009

World of Color Lagoon Walkthrough

On Thursday Disney held a media event on the DCA expansion, with a focus on the new Disney's World of Color show, which will premiere next spring. I'll have more detailed information in upcoming blog entries, but I wanted to talk a bit about the event and especially the lagoon walkthrough itself.

The event began in Blue Sky Cellar, DCA's preview center, which has been updated with new concept art, models, and a new video.

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Mary Lowery, Director of Internet Strategy and Business Management for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, announced a brand new website, www.disneyscaliforniaadventure.com, which will provide frequently updated information on DCA's expansion. The website went on-line just a few minutes before Mary began her demonstration. Check it out - there are lots of videos on things like the World of Color, the Little Mermaid attraction, and Cars Land. (Note that the Mickey Mouse clock shows the correct time - and if you click on it the alarm goes off!)

Steven Davison gave a fairly lengthy presentation on the upcoming World of Color nighttime spectacular, including several videos. One of the videos was a test of some of the fountains, mist screens and digital projectors that they did in the lagoon over a year ago, before it was drained. It was pretty impressive!

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I didn't think we'd get it ready in time to post with this blog entry, but thanks to the efforts of my husband Lee, here is Steven Davison's presentation. It's in 3 parts due to the length. There's a couple of minutes between the end of the first clip and the start of the second that was proprietary and has been removed.

The name Disney's World of Color comes from the 1960s television show Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, which brought Walt Disney into our living rooms on Sunday nights. The opening music for the show will be an updated version of that theme song. There are more than 1200 different fountains, with several different kinds of nozzles - some shooting as high as 200' in the air (to give you an idea, Mickey's Fun Wheel is 150' high). Each fountain has its own set of LED lights, which can produce 18 million colors. The show will also include lasers, fog, and fire. Plus the world's largest projected water screen - 380 feet wide and 50 feet high (that's 19,000 square feet!).

The show will include animation and music from films such as Alice in Wonderland, Pocahontas, The Lion King, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and WALL-E. I have to say that the Colors of the Wind segment from Pocahontas looks amazing.

The new viewing area will accommodate 9000 guests, though the show will be visible from just about anywhere around Paradise Bay. It's anticipated to be 25 minutes long.

After that it was time to actually go into the lagoon and see just how they are going to pull this off. First off, we had to don hardhats, vests, and safety glasses. Our "guides" were Sayre Weisman, Show Producer, and Chuck Davis, World of Color Technical Producer.

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We could not take any pictures while we were in the lagoon, but here's a video Disney released that shows some of the construction and the underside of the platform.

Here's some of my notes:

The platform is 400' long and 120' wide at its widest points. It is built out of individual 12' x 16' sections which are made of structural fiberglass.

As you can see in the video, the platforms were put into place with a huge crane - it took a couple of days and nights.

About 2/3 of the fountains are currently installed.

The entire platform raises and lowers - it has three different levels: hidden level, where everything is under the surface of the water, show level, which is 23" below the surface, and maintenance level, where the entire platform can be dry.

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The blue tanks that you can see in the photo above are the "ballast tanks" - air displaces water (or vice versa) to raise or lower the platforms. Once they reach the desired level they are locked into place with scissor lifts.

There are several kinds of fountains, including grid fountains, which can shoot 43' high, chaser fountains, which go to 85', and blow pops, which can shoot 200' in the air. Each fountain has its own 1 HP well pump and its own LED light ring, which can illuminate the whole fountain. Each has electrically piloted pneumatic valves (I had to be sure to write that down!), to control the flow of water. The fastest ones can cycle in 1/8 of a second!

Each platform has a SUB - a submersible utility box - which contains the logic, electronics, power, and air, etc. for each platform. Everything is remotely controllable.

The lagoon tour concluded with a demonstration of a blow pop fountain - and they said it's the first time they've done that. Since there's no water in the lagoon they had to bring in a water tank. It shot a column of water about 150' in the air - it was pretty impressive even though it didn't last very long since they quickly ran out of water.

After the tour there was a Q&A session with Steven Davison, Sayre Wiseman, Chuck Davis and Bob Weis.

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The event was very interesting - it was really cool to get the "under the scenes" tour of the World of Color show. It really looks amazing - I'm looking forward to next spring!

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About World of Color

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

Toy Story Midway Mania is the previous category.

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