Halloween Hiatus 2018 – All the Monster Hits!

Last year, Hiatus skipped doing their popular Halloween show in favor of a Christmas show, but happily this year they are back with a more family-friendly version of the show that they are performing this weekend at the Irvine Spectrum Center. I went to the show last night, but you can catch it again tonight with different song sets starting at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30pm!

As noted, this show, performed publicly and FREE, doesn’t have the more adult content provided by hosts Frank N. Furter and Beetlejuice of the former incarnations of the production. Instead, for this performance, the singers and musicians are dressed as fairy tale characters (Little Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf, Jack & the Beanstalk, etc.) and host the show themselves.

Though there are still some great dancers who do a little bit of booty-shaking along the way!

But considering neither the parents nor the kids in the crowd seemed offended, I guess they kept it basically PG when the dancers were on, and more G rated for the rest of the show otherwise. Continue reading

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Character Spotlight: Walt Disney World 2018 Edition – A Mad Tea Party Twirl with Alice and More Marvelous Character Meet & Greets

Last week I shared tales and photos of the Star Wars characters I got to see at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but that wasn’t my only fun character experience during my recent visit to the Walt Disney World Resort. In fact, I got to have a truly magical moment with a very special character, but I think I’ll save the best for last!

I’ll start instead with a few other character visit highlights from the trip, beginning with two of my favorite fellas at the Magic Kingdom – Big Al and Gaston!

Seeing the Country Bear Jamboree is always a must-do any time I’m at the Magic Kingdom. But the bonus is when my favorite, Big Al, is out and about greeting guests. Sometimes I’ve found him at the Frontierland Hoedown, but this time I ran into him wandering near the attraction just prior to the afternoon parade (to be featured soon!). I’m always happy to get a bear hug from this cuddly critter!

Big Al

It took me a couple of attempts on different days to catch this ‘intimidating specimen’ doing a Meet & Greet by his namesake tavern in Fantasyland, but I was lucky enough to finally see him there!

Oh, Gaston!

Dreaming of… himself of course!

As always, it was incredible to meet him. I know because he told me so! Continue reading

Show and Character Spotlight: Walt Disney World 2018 Edition – Star Wars Shows, Fireworks & More

It just didn’t seem right to split up the Star Wars coverage by type of show (stage, fireworks, etc.), when it really should all be seen and enjoyed together. So today, the Force is strong with this feature!

Mousertainment Memorandum: This stage that is usually placed in front of the Chinese Theater is currently undergoing refurbishment and some of the shows that ran here while I visited are temporarily on hiatus. Check the My Disney Experience app for the most up to date entertainment schedule for all shows. Also worth noting – the Star Wars fireworks show may be replaced seasonally, such as during the holidays.

For the Star Wars fan, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is THE place to go. And not just next year when the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land opens there…

Just walking around the park, you find Star Wars represented pretty much everywhere!

Some good places to stop would include the Star Tours attraction and right next to it, the Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple show. But for me the real winner in this area is the immense AT-AT, which absolutely takes my breath away every time I see it looming over the crowd.

Don’t look now but there’s an AT-AT heading this way!

Another great spot is Launch Bay, where you will find multiple Meet & Greets with Star Wars characters. Currently scheduled characters there include Kylo Ren & Chewbacca. Though you never know who you may find roaming inside the building – like some Stormtroopers!

But since some of the characters there also lightspeed their way to the Disneyland Resort, my goal was to visit the adorable droid BB-8 – a Meet & Greet unique to this park!

Hiya BB-8!

He’s pretty much limited to beeps and boops, so he’s not the easiest little guy to have a conversation with, although really, he’s so cute, who cares?

But I was most excited to check out the shows! Continue reading

Show Spotlight: Walt Disney World 2018 Edition – New Live Stage Shows – A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration and UP! A Great Bird Adventure

My journey to see more new live stage shows while I was recently at the Walt Disney World Resort continued onward to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom and I’ll be covering a production from each of those parks today! Spoiler: one of these I loved and the other… not quite as much.

For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

The Hyperion Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios where the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration is performed.

So is it a cheat to call this a new show for me when it’s actually a variation on one we had at Disney California Adventure for a while that I really did enjoy? Kind of? But this show had a different script and narrative emphasis – and even unique ad-libs at each show, as I went to see this twice in the same day. (Spoiler: yes, this was the one I loved!)

This 30-minute show managed to entertain with its own storyline of the Historians sharing the tale of Arendelle’s famous royal family and celebrate the wonderful movie that touched so many hearts around the world – Frozen. It utilizes movie clips with onscreen lyrics so the crowd could sing along. (As if we don’t all know the words by heart… c’mon!)

The Royal Historians with Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff.

Continue reading

Show Spotlight: Walt Disney World 2018 Edition – New Live Stage Shows – Magic Kingdom

There were so many live stage shows to see at the Walt Disney World Resort on my recent trip that I couldn’t cover them all in one feature. Today I’m going to focus on what was new to me at the Magic Kingdom – which includes Mickey Mouse and some Muppets!

Let the Magic Begin Welcome Show

This park greeting at Cinderella Castle by a multitude of characters replaces the original Magic Kingdom Welcome Show, which used to take place in front of the park at the train station. It happens approximately 5 minutes before the official park opening, so make sure you’re in the gates early!

The characters arrive for the Let the Magic Begin Welcome Show!

Right before rope drop/official park opening each day at the Magic Kingdom (though as always subject to weather and schedule change), guests can make their way to the front of Cinderella Castle and be welcomed for the day by a whole host of characters such as:

Mickey Mouse, Tiana, Aladdin, Jasmine, Cinderella’s stepsisters, Merida, Belle, Elena, Mary Poppins, Snow White, Alice, Rapunzel, Pluto, Chip n’ Dale, and Minnie Mouse

This brief but delightful opening ceremony that starts with the Royal Herald and brings a little extra Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo thanks to the Fairy Godmother is a truly magical way to start any day at the Magic Kingdom and I’m still jealous that Disneyland Park doesn’t have anything comparable!

Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire Continue reading

Show Spotlight: Walt Disney World 2018 Edition – Live Stage Show Favorites – Disney’s Hollywood Studios

As I’m not a thrill ride fan and the film-themed family attractions like the Backlot Tour and Great Movie Ride have slowly disappeared, the main draw for me at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been its great stage shows – ranging in size from small to epic. That didn’t change with my recent visit. I’ll be addressing some of the new shows I saw on this trip in another feature, but for today, I’d like to take a look at some classic live stage shows there to see how they hold up after many years!

My first stop was the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!

This approximately 30-minute long stunt show still does everything right for me – but I’ll admit I’ve loved stunt shows at theme parks since I was very young. Here you get to see some fun scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark such as the stealing of the idol and the rolling boulder re-created and performed right before your eyes, along with even bigger choreographed scenes with multi-story leaps and exploding vehicles.

Plus you get some behind-the-scenes insight on how they do it. It’s always jaw-dropping to me to watch the talented stunt performers do their dangerous moves safely but with style and swagger!

Hey, Indy – don’t get bould-over!

I opted for a FastPass+ reservation just to guarantee my seat at one of the couple of daily runs of the show, but you can probably get in on stand-by without too much trouble given the size of the stadium seating.

Next I went to see Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage for some more musical entertainment: Continue reading

Show and Performer Spotlight: Walt Disney World 2018 Edition – New Favorites

For as many years as I’ve been following park entertainment, it still surprises and delights me when I find a new performer or group or show that I instantly enjoy and want to return repeatedly to see. But it’s probably no shock to regular readers that I found a few of these on my recent trip to the Walt Disney World Resort!

Today I’m going to highlight three special discoveries I highly recommend visiting – one at EPCOT and two at DIsney’s Animal Kingdom.

I can’t take credit for finding the EPCOT performer on my own – some dear friends told me I simply HAD to go find this lovely and talented lady while I was there as she was something special. Trusting them, I did so. And they were absolutely right!

Carol at the Rose & Crown.

Carol, the piano player at the Rose & Crown Pub in the UK Pavilion was a true Walt Disney World wonder to behold! She kept the pub crowd merry and entertained throughout her entire set. Her song choices ranged from appropriately UK-themed musical selections from Oliver to Disney tunes from classics like Mary Poppins, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book.

There was plenty of audience participation and singing along, and she also took occasional song requests!

But the real fun was watching her speak to guests individually as they enjoyed their pub grub and drinks and with a few personal details, she crafted unique improvised songs about each of them! I was even treated to one myself!

Singing, playing and smiling for the camera – just watch this lady multi-task!

It was a rollicking good time for everyone and I look forward to going back to see her there again! Continue reading