A Look Back at Mousertainment in 2018 and a Look Ahead to 2019

As the old year passes and the new year rolls in, it’s a time of reflection on the highlights of the previous year and a time to wonder what the new year will bring…

When I started this blog four years ago (WOW – I still can’t believe it’s been going that long and as always, thank you to all my readers – longterm and newer for finding my musings entertaining enough to check out and follow along!), it was to celebrate my love of Disney Parks & Resorts performers and shows.  Over the years, shows have come and gone, as have some of my favorite performers.  Happily, some are still singing and dancing and playing music and entertaining guests on a weekly basis, and equally happily I’ve found new performers to appreciate and admire.

While sadly the live musical entertainment options have contracted lately, I’ve come to truly treasure my interactions with characters in the meantime, finding new ways to live out my own fantastical stories in connection with their worlds and universes.

I was thrilled to return to the Walt Disney World Resort in 2018 after a several year absence – and it was my bucket list Wonderland and other character experiences that were my biggest takeaway from the visit.  While at the Disneyland Resort, I had a once in a lifetime photo op with the full Disneyland Resort Alice in Wonderland cast when they celebrated the 60th anniversary of Alice’s namesake attraction in Fantasyland.

But if I had to choose, I’d say the individual character highlights of 2018 at Disneyland Park included my many merry moments of florid flattery to Gaston as I showered him with the compliments he so richly says he deserves:

As well as my recent seasonal visits with the devastatingly debonair and ghoulishly delightful Jack Skellington, whose dancer-like grace informs every move that he makes:

Over at Disney California Adventure, my fondest memories of the past year include my regular disagreements with Captain America as I defended my absolute loyalty to #TeamLoki while our heroic Cap gallantly forgave me and vowed to help me mend my misguided ways (as he saw it!): Continue reading

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Season’s Treatings – Christmas Treats at the Disneyland Resort 2018

While it may or may not be the most yumm-derful time of the year at the Disneyland Resort (Halloween Time may fight for that title!), there were enough new holiday treats I wanted try – and some I liked so much I had them multiple times!

My goal for this season was to try some things that weren’t just variations on items I’ve tried before (a donut, a sundae, the seasonal soup in a bread bowl, etc.), but to seek out options that were different than those I’ve sampled previously.  With that said, I still know what I usually like, so I opted for a few familiar choices, too.

Starting off with the familiar, I’ve learned from previous seasonal sweets that my favorite (non-ice cream) desserts at the Disneyland Resort are quite often the brownies.  While the cupcakes can be dry or less flavorful or the donuts too sugary, I’ve found the brownies are usually pretty darned perfect.  This one, however, did veer a bit to the overly-sweet side due to the toppings – and I have a high tolerance for sweet!

The Holiday Brownie at the Jolly Holiday Bakery was a brownie topped with white chocolate mousse, sprinkles, white chocolate “gifts” and a Christmas Tree that may have been a gingerbread cookie but was shaped like the top of an ice cream cone.  This was good – don’t get me wrong.  The icing was soft and sugary and the brownie base was freshly-baked and chocolatey.  And while it looked a little small, as do many of the brownie desserts there, as usual, it was actually just the right size as I couldn’t have managed another bite due to the sweetness.  Too much sugar overload meant that while I enjoyed it, I didn’t feel the need to go try it again, unlike another sweet I would try later in the season.

But my surprise favorites weren’t part of the regular Christmas celebrations at the Resort, but instead came from the food booths at the Disney Festival of Holidays in Disney California Adventure! Continue reading

Food Spotlight: Disneyland Resort Update November-December 2018

As previously noted, there isn’t a lot of new entertainment to report on right now although I’m hoping to have a chance to check out Goofy’s Holiday Dance Party which popped up unexpectedly this season at Tomorrowland Terrace in Disneyland Park.  It’s apparently another DJ-led dance party with characters including Alice & White Rabbit and Tweedle-Dum & Tweedle-Dee!  Which explains why I ran into them randomly a few weeks ago wandering through Fantasyland:

Next week, I’ll share my thoughts on all of the holiday treats that I’ve sampled this season, but for today I wanted to cover some of the other food-related news that has happened at the Resort in the past few weeks.

In general, the donut cart at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland Park continues to surprise and amaze.  An absolute knockout was this apple pie donut I tried last month which was mouthwateringly delicious:

Also premiering last month for Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday was this adorable (and BIG) sipper cup!

I waited 2 ¾ hours in line to get this on the day it was released because I got into the line at park open.  This was a mistake.  Other people later in the day could simply walk up and buy them immediately.  But, that’s the thing with “limited” items, you take your chances if you wait and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.  Supposedly, this sipper was exclusive to the birthday event at the Disneyland Resort this one day only.  We’ll see if that stays accurate.

I subsequently stood in line the same day for 1 ¼ hours for what was promoted as a one-day-only birthday offering described as: “Mickey Mouse Pizza – choice of pepperoni or cheese Mickey-shaped pizza; available at Daisy’s Diner at Disneyland park”, but after that long wait, I got up to the window and was informed it was actually their regular round pizza.  There was nothing “Mickey” about the cheese pizza at all, and for the pepperoni, it was again their regular round pizza with the pepperoni slices placed to form Mickey’s head instead of just randomly placed.  Epic fail.  I was so annoyed that after all that waiting, it wasn’t at all what was advertised.  So I didn’t buy it, and instead went to get food elsewhere – which thankfully turned out to be my favorite beignets I’ve ever eaten! Continue reading

MagicBand Magic – Walt Disney World 2018 Edition

This is the cute box your Walt Disney World Resort MagicBand arrives in when you customize it in advance online!

There is one more topic I wanted to discuss about about my recent visit to the Walt Disney World Resort.  The last time I’d been there, MagicBands were still being phased in and I opted to stick with my key card that I was used to having previously as it worked just fine and I saw no need to change.  This time I did not have that option and I reluctantly accepted that I would have to wear this bracelet-thing during my entire stay and I was honestly not really looking forward to it.  As a Disneyland Resort regular, I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to be stuck wearing a bracelet all day when you could already have your ticket/pass or FastPasses with you in your wallet or hanging from a lanyard.  As someone who doesn’t stay overnight at a Disneyland Resort hotel, I didn’t see why it would be an advantage to use the bracelet vs. the regular key card that worked fine in the past.  Wouldn’t it be an extra annoyance to wear all day?  Why would anyone like these things?

WOW, WAS I WRONG!!!

I LOVED the MagicBand!  From the moment I arrived at the airport in Orlando, the MagicBand did virtually everything for me!  I checked in with it there for the Magical Express coach.  I then used it to check into my hotel.  I used it to enter my hotel room.  My park pass/tickets were attached so I used it to enter the parks.  I used it to check in for my dining reservations.  I used it for attractions I had reserved FastPass+ for.  IT WAS AMAZING! Continue reading

Window Shopping in Wonderland – Walt Disney World 2018 Edition

When you are at the Disney Parks and Resorts, it’s easy to get caught up in being a ‘park warrior’ – running from attraction to attraction, character to character, meal to meal, show to show.  But one of the biggest charms of being in a world of Disney (so to speak), is the detail and theming you can find everywhere – including inside the various Parks and Resorts shops themselves!

As a major fan of Alice in Wonderland, I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to find props and displays along with merchandise related to that film and I thought I’d share a few pictures today just to remind you exactly what makes a Disney location so Disney!

Sometimes, it is just the merchandise that you’re buying that’s lined up on the shelves in such an appealing way as it was inside Uptown Jewelers on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom one day when I was there.  Can you guess which of these items came home with me as my souvenir for the trip? (Hint: there’s an item missing from one shelf because I’d just bought it!)

But sometimes you simply have to peek into the windows – like at EPCOT! Continue reading

Christmas Redux at the Disneyland Resort 2018

You may have noticed a dearth of Disneyland Resort reports lately.  Honestly, that’s because not a lot is new to discuss for the holiday season.  Performers are the same, shows and parade are the same for the most part.  (I say for the most part because sadly my dear Beverly Belles are not performing Christmas carols in the hotels this year!  Hopefully they will be back again next year!) 

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The Dapper Dans performing a Christmas set by the Ragtime Piano!

Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing that little has changed.  I love the Christmas Fantasy Parade just as it is.  I love hearing the Dapper Dans doing their Christmas routines.  I love running across the Dickens Yuletide Band performing Christmas music.  I love seeing Santa meeting and greeting guests in Critter Country at Disneyland Park and at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in Disney California Adventure.  I am hoping I will get to enjoy the Candlelight Processional this weekend but that depends if I can squeeze myself through the crowd to actually be able to see the show!

I have been going to see some of my favorite bands like the 80z All-Stars performing in Downtown Disney.  Now that the hotel construction there has been canceled, the stage seems safe as a live entertainment venue for the time being.  Holiday Harmony is also delighting guests with their seasonal vocals a few nights a week (check the park schedule for days/times) near the WonderGround Gallery in Downtown Disney.  And Phat Cat Swinger is once again jazzing up the evenings at the Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure.

You can watch the Christmas trees light up nightly in the parks.  You can watch Sleeping Beauty’s Castle illumination nightly.  You can watch the Christmas fireworks display.  You can visit Haunted Mansion Holiday and see how Jack Skellington and his friends ‘wreck the halls’.  You can visit It’s a Small World Holiday and fill your ears with “Jingle Bells” there.  Cars Land has added holiday cheer to their attractions and soundtracks as well.

And of course, you can eat lots of Christmas treats (working my way through what’s available and calling to me and will have a report for you later in the month)! Continue reading

Food Spotlight: Walt Disney World 2018 Edition

Hope you are all having a very Happy Thanksgiving!

In the midst of celebrating our gratitude for all we have and for the people in our lives that we love, a big component of our annual celebration is FOOD! So this week, I’m taking a look at everything edible that I indulged in on my recent trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. And most of it I was thankful for… but not all!

Note: I was there just as the Halloween Time season was coming in, so most of what I ate were regular offerings rather than seasonal.

I’m going to just go chronologically through my trip, where I had a mix of table service, quick service and LOTS of snacks! Tuck in, folks, ‘cause this is going to be a super-sized feature!

I started out my first morning at my favorite character buffet at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa! Not only was it delightful to meet with Alice, the Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Tigger & Pooh, but the food was good, too (for a buffet breakfast)!

Some of my multiple plates of food (yes, you need to pace yourself at this buffet, but there was so much good stuff to try!):

Here is a tip: never be shy about asking for food recommendations! My terrific waitress (who is there to bring you drinks at the otherwise self-service buffet), recommended Alice’s Red Velvet Pancakes, which were delicious! And she also gave me the suggestion to start from the end where the hot food was, which was opposite to where most people began their meal selections. She pointed out that hot food is the unique factor at the buffet, because you can find pastries anywhere and carry those anywhere, but you can’t carry hot food with you!

As always at this location, I stuffed myself and still wished I’d had room for more. The cheesy potatoes and donut holes, along with the Alice pancakes were my favorites and I had seconds of each. That said, it seemed like the choice of offerings were less than my previous trips and the quality of food not quite as high as it used to be. The bread products in particularly were quite dry and hard for so early in the morning and items tasted more simply served and mass-produced than individually prepared. However, it’s still one of my favorite meals in all of the Walt Disney World Resort and I still fully recommend it. Continue reading