The Changing Face of Downtown Disney

While not a complete cosmetic and thematic overhaul in the vein of Disney Springs in Orlando, in the coming weeks, Downtown Disney in Anaheim is going to be getting quite a makeover!

Half a dozen stores will be closing, while two new entertainment venues will be opening up.

And it’s all supposed to happen in time for the holidays!

Build-A-Bear Workshop, Chapel Hats and Ridemakerz will all be gone soon.

Originally all of the following stores were scheduled to close by September 24th:

Build-A-Bear Workshop

Chapel Hats

Ridemakerz

Vault 28

Fossil

Anna & Elsa’s Boutique

Build-A-Bear, you’ll be missed!

However, I’ve heard that Build-A-Bear may now stay open until or through the holidays. I’m glad as this terrific store features some unique location-specific Disney builds and accessories that are only available here. Personally, I wish this store could stay as I think it provides some great merchandise as souvenirs of a Disney visit, but that’s “progress” for ya! Continue reading

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The Best Laid Plans of Mousertainment…

After nearly a year of planning – including early mornings up before dawn to arrange dining and FastPass+ reservations, this week I was all set to head off to Walt Disney World for a wonderful visit… and then Hurricane Irma happened.

Suffice it to say, my long-anticipated trip got canceled and yesterday instead of enjoying all my exciting options at Epcot, I found myself sitting at home staring at a yet-to-be-unpacked suitcase. So what’s a Disney fan to do except head off to the Disneyland Resort and try to do a West Coast version of the day I’d originally envisioned?

Dining

My food plans for the day were set to be all about Canada! I had intended to try out the cheddar cheese soup and pretzel roll at the Canada booth at the Food & Wine Festival and then have dinner at Le Cellier in the Canada pavilion.  So what did I do at the Disneyland Resort instead?

I stopped by the last weekend of the Summer of Heroes event at Disney California Adventure where I found one of the themed specialty donuts called the “Local Favorite”.

It’s Canadian-adjacent. Or related. Or something. Hey, there’s maple in it!

How did this pay homage to my Epcot dining plans? Umm, hello MAPLE-filled donut (with bacon on top – oh yes!)!!!

While I’ll have to give the edge to the apple-pie-filled donut I’d tried earlier in the season, this one was a winner, too. Although I didn’t actually find much filling inside, it still had the awesome taste as if someone had mixed a pancake with a donut. And the bacon bits on top gave just a touch of salt to balance out the sweet. Yum!

Entertainment

High on my priorities list for entertainment at Epcot was to see the glorious Voices of Liberty and listen to their soaring harmonies and classic music selections. Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Gamora @ Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance-Off!

“You all totally rock.”

The totally awesome Gamora!

There are three reasons I absolutely love the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance-Off! show at Disney California Adventure:

First, the music and dancing are super fun!

Second, Star-Lord. No, but really, Star-Lord.

And last but definitely not least, this girl.

Again, sometimes you just get ridiculously lucky and find exactly the right person in exactly the right show – and along with Star-Lord, this girl is it.

Everything about her is on point – from her look to her ‘tude. She’s tough, intimidating, confident, cool. And she certainly would never dance.

Well… Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Star-Lord @ Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance-Off!

“Fox on the run…”

Okay, yeah, I’ve been singing the praises of the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance-Off show a LOT during the Summer of Heroes event at Disney California Adventure these past few months. But when a show is particularly great, I tend to say so. And when a performer is particularly great, I tend to shout it from the rooftops. Or at least from the blog!

So this guy…

Star-Lord!

Pretty much owned me as a fan from the first second I saw him walking through the onlookers while talking snark to Gamora. He’s got an ease and effortless nonchalance that’s utterly appealing and immediately puts the audience into an appropriately amused and upbeat mood for the show.

He’s funny, he can dance, he’s terrific when improvising and engaging with the crowd and he utterly melted my heart last week when he dropped down on his knees to interact with a little special needs girl in the crowd who he brought up to dance with him. Talented and a gentle soul/big heart? Winner! Continue reading

My Disney Do List #9: Riding in the Wheelhouse of the Mark Twain Riverboat

Last weekend I got to check off an item on my Disney Do List… mostly… and I wanted to share the experience!

The recent return of all the attractions around the Rivers of America at Disneyland Park has not only added a welcome energy back to the area, but it allowed me to do something I’d always wanted to do: ride in the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain riverboat!

A view from the top – New Orleans Square.

Now, I’d always heard this was such a popular request that one usually had to make it over there early in the day to have a chance of getting one of these coveted rides. However, a friend and I were there on a not-terribly crowded day and were lucky enough to be selected by the Cast Member piloting the boat for that particular turn around the river simply by being up front by the gate and being quick to respond when he asked if we (or the party next to us) had ever been up top before. I jumped at the opportunity I believed we were being presented – as did the couple standing next to us – and we were told that as soon as the gates were opened, we were to follow the Cast Member up the stairs to the top, which we excitedly did!

My friend didn’t know what to expect, but I was thrilled at the prospect of this rare visit to the top of the boat!

We climbed upstairs into a small anteroom and then into the wheelhouse itself. This small area fits a maximum of four guests along with the Cast Member.

Looking out at the view behind us of the dock and Big Thunder Mountain.

From there, we had not only an amazing view of the river and the park itself in all directions around us, but we got to watch the Cast Member in action, communicating with those who helped run the attraction as well as watching him work the boat’s bell and whistle. Continue reading

Character Spotlight: Disneyland Resort Update August 2017

Once again I’ve been noticing some different characters out and about around the Disneyland Resort, so I thought I’d share a few pictures!

At Disneyland Park, Fantasyland of late has proven to be a wonderland of characters, literally – none of whom are listed on the daily Entertainment Times Guide nor the Disneyland app. It’s just a matter of being lucky enough to stumble upon them at the right time!

I’d heard repeated rumors – yet constantly missed – seeing multiple Alice in Wonderland characters roaming the area near the Mad Tea Party attraction lately until I FINALLY achieved a major character goal which was to meet the Tweedles!

TWEEDLES!!!

Yes! Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee have been repeatedly out interacting with guests. They don’t always stop for photos, so you may have to catch them on the move, but when I recently saw them, they were not only posing for pictures but they stopped in the middle of the walkway by the attraction and had a “dance-off” with guests! It was fantastic to see the characters playing with the guests this way!

Tweedles at play with guests!

Having had a fair amount of playtime over the years with always fun Chip ‘n Dale, there is absolutely a difference between characters who appear together rather than characters who appear more often individually. There’s just an extra level of mischief and cooperation with two characters rather than one. And getting to see both Tweedles cavorting in the park completely made my day!

But they were not the only ones in the area at that time. I also saw the Queen of Hearts: Continue reading

Show Spotlight: Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!

Gamora and Star-Lord at the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!  And as usual – they’re in trouble and need help!

What is the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!?

At this Marvel-ous show, guests young and old get the opportunity to boogie with Star-Lord and Gamora as they try to dance their way out of trouble with the Collector!

Gamora and Star-Lord with the boombox that starts all the commotion…

Star-Lord is his usual insouciant self as he tries to recover a boombox from under the Collector’s nose (or attraction?). Gamora just wants to get out of there while Rocket warns them over the loudspeaker to hurry up!

But of course, it’s never easy, and the Collector starts tracking the Guardians soon after they arrive. So when Rocket suggests using a lot of movement to fool the tracking system, Star-Lord starts a Dance-Off with the crowd and the musical merriment begins!

Who are the performers?

IMG_5566 cr wm

Groot, Star-Lord and Gamora at the Awesome Dance Off!

Star-Lord and Gamora from the Guardians of the Galaxy, along with some cast members invite guests from the crowd to show off their best dance moves!

And if you’re lucky, Groot may show up, too!

Mousertainment Tip: At the beginning of the summer, I saw Groot at each Dance Off show, but recently I was there and there was no Groot and someone said he may no longer be at every set. So if Groot is a priority for you to see – and dance with! – I’d suggest stopping by a few minutes prior to the show and asking one of the Cast Members stationed in front of the area if Groot will be joining for that set.

When and where can I find it? Continue reading