Diamond in the Rough – What to Expect for the 60th Anniversary Celebration of the Disneyland Resort

For today’s entry, I wanted to examine what was divulged at the media event this week for the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration at the Disneyland Resort. And perhaps more intriguing or more frustrating, what wasn’t.

The kickoff date for the celebration will be May 22, 2015. It’s an interesting choice considering it’s neither the beginning of the year, nor representing the opening date of the park (July 17). But it does pretty much start off the summer season at the Resort which is probably why that timing was chosen. It is not yet known whether the festivities will conclude in December or continue for an entire year. However, they apparently will impact some of the normal annual happenings at the park including the regular Christmas fireworks show which reportedly will not be shown this year.

There were four announcements made at the event about what guests could expect to see at the Resort starting May 22:

  • A new version of World of Color
  • A new nighttime parade
  • A new fireworks show
  • A diamond-themed overlay of Sleeping Beauty Castle and Carthay Circle Restaurant along with assorted themed merchandise and food

For those who hadn’t known about any of these upcoming plans, it sounds impressive. While World of Color has had regular additions and changes since it began, the fireworks show has not been refreshed in some time, and the park hasn’t had a dedicated nighttime parade in many years.

However, for those who follow the various rumors leaked to the ‘Net, this was all “old news” and nothing really unexpected was revealed beyond a few previously unknown details. (It was supposedly partly in anticipation of larger crowds for the new nighttime shows that the project to add extra overflow walkways behind Main Street was recently completed.)

The new World of Color will be called “World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney”. It will feature Mickey Mouse taking guests on a journey through the life and imagination of Walt Disney.

The new nighttime parade will be called “Paint the Night”. It is a copy of a parade recently introduced at Hong Kong Disneyland with LED-covered floats that include interactive light play with certain glowing “Made with Magic” merchandise now available at the park.

The new fireworks spectacular will be called “Disneyland Forever”. It will be capped by a tumult of projection mapping technology (like that previously used for the light shows on Sleeping Beauty Castle and the exterior façade of It’s a Small World) that will spread down the buildings of Main Street and reportedly deeper into other lands of the park including the Rivers of America, the Matterhorn, and other locations. Disney Legend Richard Sherman contributed two original songs for the new production: the theme song “Live the Magic” and the closing song “Kiss Goodnight”.

And finally it was disclosed that the visual theme for the year will seemingly be “bling” and lots of it. Both Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park and the Carthay Circle in Disney California Adventure will be topped by and covered with diamond decorations. There will be themed merchandise and food items. I’m calling it now: cupcakes with bling.

What was more interesting to me was everything that WASN’T announced: Continue reading

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East vs. West: The Dapper Dans of the Magic Kingdom

“East Side, West Side, all around the town…”

The Dapper Dans of the Magic Kingdom in their patriotic best!

The Dapper Dans of the Magic Kingdom in their patriotic best!

The Dapper Dans are one of the few shows that both Florida’s Magic Kingdom and California’s Disneyland Park have in common. (Fantasmic! which will be covered here at another time, is one of the others.) This makes me happy on a lot of levels – I’m a big fan of the show and I consider the Dapper Dans a vital piece of what makes Main Street theming work; I think they’re absolutely necessary on both coasts. However, I really appreciate that the two Resorts otherwise offer different forms of entertainment for the different crowds each receives. I’m a big believer that each location should provide you with unique and special experiences to make it worth traveling there. But having a few classics like the Dapper Dans to tie both Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom back to a time Walt Disney was nostalgic for just seems fitting and right.

In this entry, I’m going to make a few observations about what make the Dapper Dans of the Magic Kingdom similar and different to the Dapper Dans of Disneyland.

What’s the same?

The Dapper Dans of the Magic Kingdom can be found in most of the same places that their Disneyland counterparts inhabit: in front of the Firehouse, strolling up and down Main Street, and hitching a ride on the Main Street vehicles. They also participate in the Flag Retreat in Town Square.

Like their West Coast brethren, the Dappers Dans in Florida play the Deagan organ chimes. I was also happy to see some of the same choreography I know so well from Disneyland turn up at the Magic Kingdom. When I made a special request for “Sidewalks of New York”, I was thrilled to recognize the familiar hat-lifting and tap dancing routine making an appearance. And yes, it was just as much fun to watch this number with the Magic Kingdom Dapper Dans as with Disneyland’s group!

The Dapper Dans of the Magic Kingdom play the Deagan organ chimes too!

The Dapper Dans of the Magic Kingdom play the Deagan organ chimes too!

What’s different? Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Dapper Jeremy @ The Dapper Dans of Disneyland

“Throw your cares and troubles aside for a while…”

Irrepressible and irresistible!

Irrepressible and always amiable!

I think to be a truly successful Dapper Dan, you have to have an old soul and Dapper Jeremy definitely does.

Jeremy is very simply an old school song and dance man. He has always reminded me of a young Mickey Rooney – with that kind of energy, enthusiasm and self-confidence in performing. He does everything with charm and a wink and a great dollop of humor.

He’s a joy to see and his happy, silly nature is infectious – whether he’s making a REALLY bad pun – and you can tell he loves to make the REALLY bad puns – or performing one of his trademark Dapper Jeremy moves (the hair slick, oh yes), he always makes the audience feel like he’s having as much fun performing as they are having watching him. Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Dapper Jon @ The Dapper Dans of Disneyland

“Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you…”

Something you will quickly learn about me when it comes to performers who catch my attention: I always love the peacocks – the ones who own any stage they are on and know it. I simply cannot resist a talented person who steps onstage and proclaims, “You must watch me.” Oh yes. I most certainly will.

But because of that innate instinct – and weakness – it means I can miss some seriously quality performers because I’ve overlooked them in favor of the one who is bolder and louder. Fortunately, I have a good friend with excellent taste in finding the quiet performers who are worth a second look, when I’ve somehow foolishly missed the first look. And often I find she is not only right in who she picks, but by her pointing them out I become a more appreciative fan of these ones who are deeper, quieter, not so obvious, but are equally incredibly special.

So here is one.

“We would like to take a moment to introduce ourselves…”

“We would like to take a moment to introduce ourselves…”

He is easy to overlook. He doesn’t showboat. But Dapper Jon has a quiet, subtle humor in his performance and presentation that once noticed will always provoke laughter. I think his dry humor can make me laugh easier than anyone at the park. He’s the definition of “beware the quiet ones”. Continue reading

Show Spotlight: The Dapper Dans of Disneyland

“We’re here to entertain you in the Dapper Dan style…”

Upon the seats of a bicycle built for four!

The Dapper Dans on their bicycle built for four!

What are The Dapper Dans of Disneyland?

A staple since the early days of the park, the Dapper Dans of Disneyland are a turn of the century style barbershop quartet who regale their audiences with songs, dances and jokes that help set the tone and era of Main Street, U.S.A. In their matching colorful striped outfits, they sing songs ranging from period pieces like “Sweet Adeline” and “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” to Disney classics like “When I See an Elephant Fly” and “Cruella DeVille”.

Along with their toe-tapping a capella numbers, they also perform routines using the Deagan organ chimes – an instrument created in 1901!

Through the years, the Dapper Dans have helped participate in everything from marriage proposals to prom invitations and anniversary celebrations.  They may also pay you special attention if you’re wearing a birthday button (available at City Hall).  Some lucky guests have even been picked to become Honorary Members of the Dapper Dans of Disneyland!

On most days, the Dapper Dans also help celebrate America by singing patriotic songs at the flag retreat ceremony in the Town Square of Main Street.

Who are the performers?

Dapper glamour shot. What a handsome group of guys!

A very Dapper quartet.

There are over a dozen regular Dapper Dans who perform throughout the week in different combinations and there are a few more substitutes who can step in if any of the regulars aren’t available. So you could easily see any of potentially 20 different Dapper Dans at Disneyland depending on when you go!

Usually the same Dapper Dans sing as a group all day long, but sometimes they switch out a performer midday.

Many of the Dapper Dans at Disneyland are cross-trained in several of the four singing roles: Tenor, Lead/Harmony, Bass and Baritone. So while you might find one performer singing lead one day, he may be baritone the next, swapping out colored outfits depending on the role being performed!

For their regular multi-hued outfits, the roles are: Tenor – Yellow/Green, Lead – Purple, Bass – Red, Baritone – Blue. However, seasonally all four Dapper Dans may wear the same colored outfit.

When and where can I find them? Continue reading

Mousertainment Movies: What Was Worth Watching in 2014?

Today I’d like to take a quick look back at the films of 2014. Here is where we go both on and off property as the majority of films in a given year that I tend to want to see generally are Disney. Or Marvel. But there were a few non-Disney films that got my attention as well.

One caveat I should mention – I think very few movies are worth going out to the theater to see anymore – between half an hour of commercials, people talking and texting during a film, and children crying or running around, I find going to the movies these days a generally unpleasant experience. So if I’m going to push through all that and go see a film on the big screen rather than just wait to rent it in the comfort of my own home, it had better be something pretty special.

So without further ado, here are the Top 10 films that piqued my curiosity in 2014 – including the few that got me off of my couch to go see them (*):

10) Into the Woods

Reasons I wanted to see it:

  • Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine musical
  • James Corden

Reasons I didn’t go see it:

  • Directed by Chicago’s Rob Marshall 
  • Changes to story/songs
  • May go watch the PBS version with Bernadette Peters instead

9) Big Eyes

Reasons I wanted to see it:

  • Director Tim Burton
  • Amy Adams
  • Story of Margaret Keane

Reasons I didn’t go see it:

  • Waiting for rental 

8) The Imitation Game

Reasons I wanted to see it:

  • Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Story of Alan Turing

Reasons I didn’t go see it:

  • Waiting for rental 

7) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Reasons I wanted to see it:

  • Longtime fan of the Apes universe (however, the ending of the Tim Burton film never happened)
  • Andy Serkis
  • Continuation of Rise of the Planet of the Apes storyline

Reasons I didn’t go see it:

  • Waiting for rental 

6) Maleficent

Reasons I wanted to see it: Continue reading

A Tip of the Hat – Theming Changes at Walt Disney World

Theming is part of Mousertainment in the parks – this is what makes you feel like you’re inside the story. Some theming, however, is more successful than others.

Over the past several weeks, the Walt Disney World Resort parks have said goodbye to some area and attraction theming. Only some of the replacement theming has been announced and we await more news on what is yet to come.

Today, Mousertainment would like to bid farewell and give a tip of the hat to some park icons and attractions that are leaving – some will be missed and some… not so much.

The Sorcerer’s Hat – Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Can you tell there is an attraction behind this thing?  I can't either.

Can you tell there is an attraction behind this thing? I can’t either.

Count me in with those throwing a hat up in the air cheering for the removal of this eyesore. It wasn’t so much the gigantic Sorcerer hat itself, which granted, was huge and rather cheesy-looking but might have worked well as a decoration at one of the value resort hotels or even in a parking lot. But using this monstrosity to block the view of the Great Movie Ride’s beautiful Chinese Theatre exterior was completely unacceptable and frankly, tacky looking. It also ruined the classic Hollywood theming of the street itself.

Better at night, but how does this say "Hollywood"?

Better at night, but how does this say “Hollywood”?

The hat was one of several destructive additions (Spaceship Earth wand, anyone?) to the visuals of Walt Disney World parks created for the Millennium and 100 Years of Magic celebrations which had long overstayed its welcome. Although because it has been there for so long, a generation has grown up with the hat as the Disney’s Hollywood Studios park icon and there are probably just as many people sorry to see it go as there are those thrilled to see it leave.

I, for one, am very much looking forward to the improved view down the Studios’ Hollywood Boulevard with the Chinese Theatre once again retaining its proper place as the “weenie” or visual enticement to draw you further into the park. As well as to the Earful Tower mouse-ear-capped water tower likely returning as the icon for the park itself. Every classic Hollywood studio (including Disney) had a water tower so at least the theming of that big hat in the park made sense!

I would say I’d miss the pin shop located underneath the Sorcerer hat – but all of that merchandise has been moved to a new location along the park’s Sunset Boulevard.

The Studio Backlot Tour – Disney’s Hollywood Studios

159 sm wm

In the earliest days of the then Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios), it attempted to usurp the mantle of Universal Studios in behind-the-scenes movie parks with its theming and attractions. And I think at that time, this must have been a better attraction than what it had become by the time I got to see it. With a good portion of the acreage of the tour removed years ago, along with the excitement of watching movies actually being created in this formerly-working studio, what was left was just a short trip through a few “danger” zones, along with a drive-by past a few props, leaving one feeling more bored than informed or entertained. Continue reading