Mousertainment Miscellanea – I Didn’t Know That! #1 – Disney Parks Kennels

The Disney Parks and Resorts have so many amenities they offer that it’s easy to overlook some of them!

While working on my live animals in the parks feature, I thought of one such service that many are unaware is available at both the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resorts and that is: pet kennels!

While service animals are permitted in the parks, other family pets are not. So if you’re visiting the parks for the day and would like a place to keep your pet while there – you can do that!

At the Disneyland Resort, the Disneyland Kennel Club offers a first come, first served place to leave your pet for the day (note: overnight accommodations are NOT provided here, sorry!) for a fee. Their hours of operation are generally a half hour before parks’ opening to a half hour after parks’ closing, but be sure to check with them directly for their schedule on any given day.

All pets must be vaccinated, and please be aware that while the kennel provides accommodations for your animals for the day, you are still responsible for feeding and walking your pets during the day – please do not forget to do so!

At the Walt Disney World Resort, Continue reading

A Different Kind of Entertainment – Live Animals at the Disney Parks

I can’t have a week where I’m looking at Animal Kingdom entertainment and not address the obvious – there are real, live animals to see there too – not just Disney characters!

But actually, there are live animals at a lot of the Disney Parks (aside from the obvious local birds and such), more than people may realize! And they can also be a lovely, entertaining and even educational part of your park experience, especially as much of the focus at Animal Kingdom and EPCOT is dedicated to conservation and preservation!

So if you would like to know where to see some live animals at the parks, here are some places to look for them!

Disneyland Resort

Disney California Adventure

  • You may see some of the Disneyland ducks enjoying themselves in the waterways around the park, especially by the Pacific Wharf, where they and other birds are attracted by the food in the area! But generally Disneyland Park is where the live animals are.

Disneyland Park

The Dapper Dans serenade some guests aboard the Horse-Drawn Trolley!

The Dapper Dans serenade some guests aboard the Horse-Drawn Trolley!

  • Main Street, U.S.A. – Start your day with a leisurely ride on a Street Car drawn by one of the parks’ horses. These magnificent, massive creatures are particularly impressive up close. (If you’re lucky, the Dapper Dans will hitch a ride along too!). And if you’d like to see some of the horses when they’re not “working”, try visiting Frontierland where they can sometimes be found along with other animal friends…
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Just some of the animals to be found at the Big Thunder Ranch Petting Zoo!

  • Frontierland – The Petting Zoo at Big Thunder Ranch is the place to take the little ones to meet many animals who make the Disneyland Resort their home. From the beautiful horses who pull the trolleys to cows, goats, burros and more, the petting zoo is a great place for some downtime at the parks, enjoying the peaceful joy of greeting the animals.

Mousertainment Tip: The Petting Zoo, along with all of Big Thunder Ranch will be closing January 10, 2016 due to the imminent groundbreaking for the new Star Wars Land. So visit now while you can!

Ducks swim above with koi below in the pond along Big Thunder Trail.

Ducks swim above with koi below in the pond along Big Thunder Trail.

  • Big Thunder Trail – halfway up/down Big Thunder Trail you’ll come to a pond filled with everything from ducks to big, beautiful koi and last time I was there, I spotted a mama and baby turtle there, too!
  • Frontierland waterways – at the entrance from Main Street to Frontierland, there is a waterway that is popular with the ducks from the Resort as they can often be found swimming there or resting along the banks!
  • The Rivers of America – While a lot of animatronic animals can be spotted along the Rivers of America, many of the park’s duck population like to swim here, too!

Mousertainment Tip: Keep an eye out especially along the tram route at night to see if you can spot any of the feral cat community that make their home at the Disneyland Resort! But as with any animals you see at the park, for their safety and yours, please do not feed them or attempt to pet them (except as allowed at the petting zoo)!

Walt Disney World Resort

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Performers Spotlight: Tumble Monkeys @ Festival of the Lion King

“It’s our problem-free philosophy…”

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In honor of this being the first week of Fall, who better to spotlight than some tumblers? (Ha!)

If ever there was living proof of “Hakuna Matata” or having “no worries”, it’s the Tumble Monkeys at the Festival of the Lion King at Walt Disney World Resort’s Animal Kingdom!

From their bright yellow color to their giddy bouncing ways, they are simply happiness personified!

Featured in one main section of the show, their so cleverly-choreographed routine allows these ridiculously talented gymnasts to show off their skills by nimbly leaping and bounding up, over and around using a combination of trampolines, bars and rings to swing on – literally! All the while acting like a pack of silly monkeys. Continue reading

Show Spotlight: Festival of the Lion King

“There’s more to see than can ever be seen…”

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What is Festival of the Lion King?

The Festival of the Lion King is a theater-in-the-round performance with every kind of entertainment you can imagine – from song and dance to animatronic figures and movie characters along with narrators re-telling the story of the beloved Disney classic animated film, The Lion King.

Visually it’s a bit of a mash-up of the movie and Broadway versions by way of the Disneyland Lion King Celebration parade (from whence it reportedly re-purposed some of its original costumes and staging!).

But as a theatrical experience – it’s phenomenal and fun! There are plenty of audience participation opportunities too, as each section of the crowd is assigned a particular animal to represent in the Circle of Life!

Who are the performers?

An aerialist dances in mid-air!

An aerialist dances in mid-air!

Just as I noted it was Genie who defined the Aladdin show at Disney California Adventure, at the Festival of the Lion King, it is all about the Tumble Monkeys – who are so terrific, I’m spotlighting them separately tomorrow!

Otherwise, there is a tremendously talented cast of singers, dancers, aerialists, and even fire dancers in their glorious multi-hued costumes that bring this joyous show to life!

When and where can I find it? Continue reading

The Downsizing of Entertainment in Disney Parks – A Disappointing Direction

Disclaimer: the following (as always) is my personal opinion and in no way reflects or represents that of any other person or corporate entity.

I’ve actually had this concern in my head since I started this blog, but I had hoped things might turn around and I wouldn’t feel obliged to write about it. However, given the continued direction of entertainment in the parks – the heart of Mousertainment for me – I can’t keep avoiding the obvious.

This trend may have started as far back as the shuttering of Walt Disney World Resort’s popular Downtown Disney Pleasure Island entertainment offerings such as the Comedy Warehouse and the utterly beloved and very grieved Adventurer’s Club which both still brought in crowds at the time they were closed. But I first really noticed it at the Disneyland Resort and then started seeing a pattern overall…

I was worried when the traditional-since-the-days-of-Walt-Disney swing dancers were pushed out of Disneyland Park for an extended period of time. (They were brought back after much public outcry.)

I was sad when the charming Minnie’s Fly Girls at Disney California Adventure was canceled, when it was a better show than some others that stayed and provided a welcome live performance component to that area of the park.

I was upset when a majority of the most popular longstanding entertainment acts in EPCOT at the Walt Disney World Resort were let go including the Fife and Drum Corps, the UK Players, Mo’Rockin and most especially Off-Kilter. It was also reported this past week that Mulch, Sweat & Shears – a show that was on my agenda for my next trip to the Walt Disney World Resort – will soon be disappearing from Disney’s Hollywood Studios as well!

I was annoyed when Frozen took over the Royal Theatre in Disneyland’s Fantasyland and took the place of the brilliant Tangled show and the charming Beauty & the Beast show there. (Though sorry, I didn’t mind it taking over the rarely-filled Muppets 3D theater in DCA.  I like Frozen – I just don’t need it everywhere!)

I was absolutely lost when they tried to replace The Mad T Party at DCA with Frozen. Happily for T fans that experiment was, as many of us expected, unsuccessful.

I think it was a very poor choice to replace the charming Original Disneyland Band with the more raucous new version that simply seems to be an echo of their East Coast counterpart, the Main Street Philharmonic, rather than a special unique entity dating back to the earliest days of Walt Disney’s original park.

I am sorry to lose the wonderful and relaxing Big Thunder Ranch area including such delightful entertainment as Farley the Fiddler (hopefully he can be relocated to Frontierland!) and Miss Chris and Tex Tumbleweed at the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ stage but I always knew that area had to be destined for bigger things. Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Mapmaker @ Mickey and the Magical Map

“There’s no place I’d rather be…”

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So I’ll simply start this one off by saying:

Best. Dancer. In. The. Entire. Disneyland. Resort.

Seriously. This guy is EXQUISITE. I appreciate the talent and enthusiasm of a lot of dancers in the various park shows and I’m a big fan of many of them (hello, Hottest/Most Dazzling Deck in Town!).

But there are dancers and there are DANCERS. And this guy – is a DANCER.

Every move is finished. Every extension – perfection. He’s someone that I could watch endlessly and never tire of. The line of every motion he makes is just… art.

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His effortless moves elevate any performance he’s in. And while I find it pretty much impossible to take my eyes off of him when he’s on the Magical Map stage, I think he inspires the dancers around him to do their best when they’re near him! Or maybe it’s just that any performance he’s in is enhanced by his ability. Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Flynn Rider @ Mickey and the Magical Map

“All at once, everything is different, now that I see you…”

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Today we’ll make a return to another wonderful stage show at the Disneyland Resort – Mickey and the Magical Map, where it’s time to spotlight the ever so charming Flynn Rider!

Like Rapunzel and Pocahontas, Flynn only makes an appearance during the princess segment of the show, but fortunately his performance is a memorable one!

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Do you ever have the feeling of seeing someone doing exactly what they’re meant to do? That’s the feeling I get when I see this guy.

Like there’s nothing more natural in the world than for him to be belting out a song like he’s in a Broadway production. Continue reading