Show Spotlight: Pixar Play Parade

“Everyone count down to fun – 5, 4, 3, 2, FUN!”

Sulley in the Monsters University segment of the parade.

Sulley in the Monsters University segment of the parade.

What is the Pixar Play Parade?

This peppy daily parade at Disney California Adventure features segments focusing on some of the most popular Pixar films. This includes:

  • Monsters Inc./Monsters University (float, dancers)
  • The Incredibles (float, characters, dancers, stilt-jumpers)
  • Finding Nemo (floats, puppeteers, dancers)
  • A Bug’s Life (float, characters, dancers, performers on swings)
  • Toy Story (floats, characters, dancers, gymnasts on bars)
  • CARS (characters, dancers)

Mousertainment Memorandum: The Pixar Play Parade and other smaller shows like The Incredibles H.I.T. Squad – Heroes in Training or Operation: Playtime! – Featuring the Green Army Men, plus Meet & Greets with Toy Story characters, along with themed lands (Cars Land, A Bugs Land), attractions like Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! and Toy Story Midway Mania! are all part of what makes many people think of Disney California Adventure as the “Pixar Park”. This is similar to its Orlando sibling park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which tomorrow celebrates the 27th anniversary of its opening on May 1, 1989. That park will be adding an entire Toy Story Land in the next few years!

Who are the performers?

Dancers precede The Incredibles float with Jack-Jack on it.

Dancers precede The Incredibles float with Jack-Jack on it.

A very large cast of characters and performers (and CARS!) features folks dancing, leaping, swinging and singing along to the great songs from Pixar films and more!

Nemo and Marlin swim ahead of a float with Crush and friends from Finding Nemo!

Nemo and Marlin swim ahead of a float with Crush and friends from Finding Nemo!

In this parade you can encounter everyone from Sulley to The Incredibles to Nemo and Dory to Flik and Atta to Buzz and Woody to Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater!

Heimlich from A Bug’s Life segment of the parade.

Heimlich from A Bug’s Life segment of the parade.

When and where can I find it? Continue reading


Show Spotlight: The Incredibles H.I.T. Squad – Heroes in Training

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What is The Incredibles H.I.T. Squad – Heroes in Training?

Mr. Incredible and Frozone say hi to the crowd!

Mr. Incredible and Frozone say hi to the crowd!

A return of the 2011-2012 show, Pixar Pals featuring The Incredibles: Heroes in Training, which ran in Hollywood Land while construction in Disney California Adventure prevented the Pixar Play Parade from happening. This show was recently brought out of mothballs to again fill in while the Pixar Play Parade (to be spotlighted tomorrow!) is displaced by the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival in the month of April.

The show features The Incredibles’ float, characters and dancers from the Pixar Play Parade along with a “trainer” who encourages young ones in the audience to come up and test themselves through exercise and feats of “strength” and target practice against the villains trying to stop them.

At the end of the show, the new troop of heroes receive stickers for participation.

Who are the performers?

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The show is led by a trainer who revs the crowd up and helps search for “Heroes in Training”.

Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, Frozone and various dancers and stilt-jumpers from the Pixar Play Parade also join in the fun.

When and where can I find it? Continue reading

Performer Spotlight Flashback: The Happy Camper

As our days disappeared all too soon…”

Amongst the many cutbacks in entertainment on both coasts, at the same time that Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando recently let go of its longtime performer Gi-Tar Dan, Disney California Adventure let go of his Anaheim counterpart, The Happy Camper.

Both could simply be called “a guy with a guitar”, but as always, the Disney environment and talented Cast Members made them both much more to the tourists and locals alike.

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I stopped by to see The Happy Camper for some of his last sets at the end of February and as always he filled the trail through Grizzly Peak with song (and guitar and harmonica!).

While The Happy Camper’s permanent home was a comfy little nook along the trail across from Rushin’ River Outfitters, at the end of his run, this location was under refurbishment, so he was found either perched on a stool outside of the construction walls or in front of the Outfitters store itself.

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Watching The Happy Camper really made you feel like you were sitting around a campfire listening to a friend play good tunes. It felt like summers past and potential futures ahead. It was warm and welcoming and added a pleasant layer of live, spontaneous entertainment that made you want to stop and stay a spell in an otherwise “just passing through” area. Continue reading

Happy Earth Day Birthday to Animal Kingdom!

On April 22, 1998, Disney’s Animal Kingdom officially opened at the Walt Disney World Resort. And its celebration of nature, animals, the planet and conservation has continued daily ever since.

I can think of no more emblematic way to celebrate than by sharing the beauty of the iconic Tree of Life. It simply took my breath away the first time I saw it in person…

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No matter what angle you view it from…

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It’s beautiful!  (And HUGE!)

Let’s add in a few pretty pictures of the resident Mt. Everest while we’re at it! Continue reading

A Visit to Walt Disney’s Office – The Suite 3H Tour

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Recently, I had the awesome opportunity to visit a new display set up by the Walt Disney Archives at the Walt Disney Studios Burbank lot. The Archives team has recreated Walt Disney’s office suite as it appeared in the last months he had used it before he passed away. (This explains why a similar exhibit was removed from the One Man’s Dream experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.)

Currently, the only opportunity for the public to tour this space is as a D23 member who pays to take this very limited tour, and only a handful of people are allowed into each room at any given time. Photos are permitted, but no video or flash pictures.

The 3H Suite is located on the third floor of the “Old Animation” Building on the Studio Lot.

As you enter the suite with your Archives tour guide, you first notice pictures along the hallway of the offices as they appeared in Walt Disney’s time.

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Your first stop on the tour is in a re-created version of one of the secretaries’ offices. Walt Disney had three secretaries by the end of his career and on this desk you’ll see his appointment calendar, which was kept in triplicate so each of his secretaries had an up to date schedule of where he would be at any given time.

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Here you will also find a cabinet filled with just some of Walt Disney’s many, many awards. Continue reading

A Day in the Parks with a Plaid – A VIP Tour of the Disneyland Resort

I honestly never expected I’d ever have the chance to experience at day at the parks with a VIP tour guide (aka a “plaid”). I’m neither a celebrity, nor do I have the up to $550/hr (with a 6 hour minimum reservation) it costs to book such an event.

However, recently, some friends and I were lucky enough to win a 4-hour tour with a plaid, along with associated privileges and I thought I would share the experience for those who wondered just what it was like to wander the parks as a “VIP”.

Our VIP tour guide who met us at the Disneyland Park Tour Gardens next to City Hall to begin our tour.

Our VIP tour guide who met us at the Disneyland Park Tour Gardens next to City Hall to begin our tour.

First of all, what we quickly learned is that VIP does not mean any non-public perks. We asked about the possibility of viewing any special locations such as Walt Disney’s Apartment, the Dream Suite, the Disneyland Hotel Signature Suites or the Lily Belle and were told that none of these were available as part of our tour. We were disappointed to hear this, but open to whatever we would have access to from the experience. And basically that turned out to be that the plaid was a ‘super FastPass’, meaning, for whichever attractions in the park had a FastPass option, we could get jumped to the back of the FastPass line (not the front).

Waiting in line for Space Mountain.

Waiting in line for Space Mountain.

Which meant that the four hours with the plaid turned out to be a whirlwind fast-walk from attraction to attraction to attraction with only brief (FastPass time) waits.

This was great for the others in my group who got to go from Star Tours to Space Mountain to Thunder Mountain or Tower of Terror to Radiator Springs Racers to Midway Mania in record time. However, as someone who deals with motion sickness, I could not go on any of those attractions and spent most of the time walking with them, sitting and waiting for them to get off the attraction, and then walking to the next one and sitting and waiting some more. So it was not quite the fun, productive experience for me that it was for them. Although I was happy to finally walk through the beautifully themed queue at Tower of Terror, even if I then proceeded directly to the exit since I couldn’t ride it. Continue reading

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival 2016

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After an absence of several years, the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival has returned for the month of April 2016. Some changes from the previous iterations include more upcharge events and the introduction of individual food booths (ala EPCOT’s popular Food & Wine Festival).

Sadly, however, unlike EPCOT, the California version of the Festival does NOT include any live musical component like the Eat to the Beat Concert Series.

And in fact, Food & Wine is the nominal reason that the Pixar Play Parade (to be featured soon!) is not being run this month throughout the park as the Festival has taken up some of its performing corridor along Paradise Pier. However, a returning smaller Incredibles-themed show is running temporarily at Paradise Pier instead (to be featured once I can go check it out!).

In the meantime, weekend guests at Disney California Adventure will find the former Mad T Party backlot area stages being used for lifestyle presentations…

I prefer T to wine.

I prefer T to wine.

And culinary classes… Continue reading