New Orleans (Square) News

This will be the first of several New Orleans Square-focused articles over the next few weeks as we approach Mardi Gras time!

Today’s feature is an update on a few of the changes that have happened since the Rivers of America and the Disneyland Railroad closed earlier this month.

First – to the Rivers!

Unlike the last time the Rivers were closed for refurbishment, it looks like Disneyland Park is trying to avoid the depressing view of the dry riverbed with its exposed track. Rumor has it the Rivers will be dammed about halfway back with any changes to the course and to Tom Sawyer Island happening behind that area.

Walls and scrims have gone up on both sides of the Rivers – both around the Hungry Bear Restaurant and along Big Thunder Trail. But very happily, both the Sailing Ship Columbia and the Mark Twain are still on the Rivers – although not running as transportation. Two weeks ago, the Columbia was at the dock and the Mark Twain was at Fowler’s Harbor (next to the Harbour Galley snack location). But last weekend this was reversed and fortunately, although the Mark Twain was stationary at the dock, there was still exciting activity aboard!

Princess Tiana and Louis aboard the Mark Twain!

Princess Tiana and Louis aboard the Mark Twain!

Yes! Not only was Tiana continuing her Meet & Greets aboard the boat, but she was joined by two very special friends! Dr. Facilier and Louis the Alligator also came out for Meet & Greets!

The Shadow Man himself – Dr. Facilier!

The Shadow Man himself – Dr. Facilier!

It hasn’t been confirmed if this is going to be a regular character Meet & Greet opportunity or if perhaps they will use the Rivers downtime to bring back Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee show aboard the Mark Twain (which I’d be very happy to have back again!).

At any rate it was a thrill to see relatively rare characters out and about! Continue reading

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Marvelous Mid-Season TV

It’s that time of year… when your favorite TV shows are all on hiatus and the networks bring out new or limited series to fill in the timeslots.

I’m very, very happy for the return of Marvel’s Agent Carter on ABC! Since the show ended its first season last year, I’ve been eagerly awaiting its comeback. And so far… so good.

The best: Peggy Carter, Edwin Jarvis, Daniel Sousa and especially Howard Stark are all in fine form! There are some terrific new characters like Calvin Chadwick (played by the always charismatically creepy Currie Graham – or the ‘Canadian Kevin Spacey’ as I’ve thought of him for years!) and Jason Wilkes (the irresistibly appealing Reggie Austin – it’s easy to see why his character would turn Peggy’s head!).

And this season they’ve finally introduced Jarvis’ wife, Ana, who is… odd… but somehow quite endearing! Her quirkiness allows forgiveness for her getting in the way of those fans who would “ship” Peggy and Jarvis as a couple.

But speaking of romantic pairings… the show does seem to be emphasizing the soap opera aspects this season, a bit more than the Alias/spy format of last season and I’ll attribute it to the new showrunners. We shall see if the plotlines pay off as well as the romance over the next few weeks!

This mid-season of television also brings back some very long-lost friends on FOX – in the form of The X-Files’ Mulder and Scully (talk about fan-beloved duos!)! Two episodes in and the show is holding up well, both for its nostalgia factor in bringing back favorites such as SPOILER AHEAD! (highlight the text ahead for some familiar faces) Walter Skinner and the Cigarette Smoking Man – as well as the entertaining alien and government conspiracy plotlines.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are as smooth together in their roles and relationship as if they’d just parted a season ago. It’s like visual comfort food to have these two back on my TV!  And hearing the memorable opening credits theme music puts a big smile on my face!

But the mid-season has wonderfully also delivered a promising new series that I’m already hooked on after one episode airing… Continue reading

My Disney Do List

“If you can dream it, you can do it!”

I think that people’s dreams are as diverse as people are themselves. So what I dream of doing may be completely different than what you dream of doing – and that’s awesome! Because if everyone wanted to do the same thing, how boring (and crowded!) would that get?!

Some people dream of climbing Mt. Everest, of winning the lottery, or getting a medal at the Olympics. Some dream of becoming President or marrying royalty. Some dream of hitting the perfect note or creating the next iPhone or Facebook.

As you can probably tell from this blog, I pretty much eat, sleep and breathe Disney.  So it’s probably no surprise that my dreams are about Disney, too! If I wanted to travel the world – I’d want to travel it with Disney. And I’ll admit, I’d love to visit all of the Disney Parks worldwide, but I don’t really expect to have the opportunity to do so.

But there are a few Disney dreams that I have already had the chance to make come true:

I visited the Walt Disney World Resort. More than once. (And I hope to go back again in the next year or two. And again after that!)

I ate at Club 33. The real one – before it was totally changed and redesigned. The one that Walt Disney himself oversaw much of the design of.

Those were HUGE – probably my top two Disney dreams that I waited decades to achieve.

But there is still so much more I dream of doing – and a lot of it, I really hope and think I can do!

So here is my Disney Do List – the things that I would most love to do in the wonderful world of Disney in order from smallest to biggest!

  1. Ride in the tender seat on the Disneyland Railroad.
  • Really, I’ve no excuse for not doing this other than I always seem to be rushing from show to show when I’m at the park and I simply never took the time to either arrive early enough to request this unique perspective of traveling on one of the trains or waited long enough to do so. On the last day of the railroad before it closed a few weeks ago, the wait for this prime spot was several hours long at various times during the day even with multiple trains running. So now I have to wait till the railroad re-opens. And then I need to do it!
  1. Earn my Pilot’s Certificate by riding in the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain
  • This one, too, I only have myself to blame for not doing it. It was something one could request, though again there was always a wait and the spots often filled up quickly for the day. Although my understanding was that by the last few weeks before the recent closing of the Rivers of America, you could no longer request the opportunity, it was just being given randomly. I don’t have confirmation on that, however. But I do know when the Mark Twain returns to the Rivers, I will make it a priority to try!
  1. Ride in the Lily Belle Presidential Train Car on the Disneyland Railroad
  • This luxury caboose that was out periodically was usually just available in recent years to Club 33 members and their guests. Unfortunately, I was not aware of this at the time I went to Club 33, so I missed that opportunity. Every once in a while though, supposedly a few members of the general public have been allowed aboard. I hope for this chance when the railroad reopens, but it may be a rarity.
  1. A visit to Walt Disney’s apartment at Disneyland Continue reading

Mousertainment at the Disneyland Resort in 2016

With all the closures that happened this month at the Disneyland Resort (including the various Rivers of America attractions, the Disneyland Railroad, the Big Thunder Ranch area including the Jamboree and the Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue and show, as well as the ending of Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular), is there anything to look forward to at the Resort in 2016?

Why yes, there actually is!

First, and likely my favorite bit of news was the return of Tangled to the Royal Theatre in Disneyland Park just last week! It is now running three times per day along with the Frozen show. I’m still hoping that the Beauty and the Beast show will return here at some point as well, but getting Tangled back was really, really welcome!

Soarin’ Over California is currently in the midst of refurbishment in anticipation of its new iteration as Soarin’ Around the World. As long as they keep that original exquisite and iconic Jerry Goldsmith music score, I will be open to what the new film adds to the experience!

The Star Wars Season of the Force event in Disneyland Park’s Tomorrowland (to be spotlighted here soon!), expected to continue through the springtime, seems to be getting refreshed after only being open for a short time with the announcement last week that Kylo Ren from Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be joining the Meet & Greet characters at the Launch Bay starting next month (although Darth Vader will no longer be meeting here as a result).

And of course, the biggest production coming in the summer of 2016 will be Frozen at the Hyperion Theater in Disney California Adventure! While I was very, very upset at the loss of Aladdin there, I’ve no doubt that this show will be incredible and showcase plenty of Mousertainment talent. The question is: will it manage to be as relevant and constantly refreshable and inspire the kind of repeat viewing that the Genie managed to accomplish for the Aladdin show? Will it appeal to all ages and genders or just to little princesses and their accompanying parent? We’ll find out in a few months! Continue reading

Performer Spotlight Flashback: Jafar @ Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular

“Yes, meet a blast from your past…”

All about the attitude.

All about the attitude.

When one characterizes an iconic villain like Jafar, it takes more than just dialogue recitation and singing ability.  It requires an embodiment of the essence of who he is – and this guy absolutely delivered!

When I think of Jafar, I think of a dry delivery but an oily quality. One who capitalizes on his dominating height and power. A glee in manipulating others. But most especially having a sweeping grandness to his presence and this guy was all that and then some!

He really carried off that theatrical style of superiority that played into every gesture and pose.

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But attitude alone isn’t enough on stage. Continue reading

Mousertainment @ The Disney Parks Blog Aladdin Meetup

Fans of the now sadly gone but absolutely brilliant stage show, Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular, are still reeling from the loss of what could easily be considered the crown jewel of Disney California Adventure. As we ponder the future of the park without the presence of this joyous and entertaining production, I’d like to share my impressions of one of the last visits I made to see it being performed.

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A month before Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular was scheduled to close, the Disney Parks official blog invited a limited number of guests (if you signed up quickly enough) to a special private performance of the show at one of their “meetups”. I was fortunate enough to be one of the folks to attend – the only time I’ve managed to get into a meetup as they always fill up within minutes of being announced!

It was very special to me to get into this specific event, however, given my great love of Mousertainment at the Disney Parks and this show in particular.

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After having read about the blog meetups where guests have met characters, and were given free hats and shirts, along with food and drinks, I was really looking forward to it. But overall, except for one facet, I was personally pretty disappointed in what I experienced in regards to the event itself. (The Aladdin show, however, was marvelous as always.) Continue reading

One Year of Mousertainment

It’s amazing to me to think that a year ago I decided to start this blog and see if I could write at least four articles in one week. And then I thought I’d see if I could keep it up for a month. And then a few more…

And today we come to the close of the first YEAR of Mousertainment – a celebration of all things entertainment, but especially Disney, and in particular the amazing shows and performers at the Disney Parks.  And during that time, shows have opened, shows have closed, and I’ve written over 200 articles.

The final performance on the final day of Disney's Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular.

FastPass for the final performance on the final day of Disney’s Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular.

The final performance of Fantasmic! until at least 2017.

FastPass for the final performance of Fantasmic! at Disneyland Park until at least 2017.

When I first started out, I had two dozen pages of notes/ideas/theme weeks and several thousand park photos to sort through (okay, yes, the majority of those were pictures of The Mad T Party and The Dapper Dans, but still…)

I have spent a year sharing so many of the people and places that I love and that have given me so much joy over the past several years. And there is still more to come!

There are people I still want to spotlight, shows I want to review, and the parks are constantly changing – sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse – and adding new shows and hiring new talent that I am lucky enough to get to go see.

But for today, I’d like to take a moment and thank everyone who has stopped by to check out my blog – and maybe even decided to stay for a while. I put this together as a labor of love and as a small way to thank and recognize the talented people who add so much to my life on a regular basis. It was a surprise and a pleasure to find that anyone else might be interested in reading it, too. So my thanks to each of you! Continue reading