Harveys Alice in Wonderland Collection Release

Part of the line waiting outside the store for the release.

Part of the line waiting outside the store for the release.

For the past few years, high-end purse (and other bags/accessories) retailer Harveys has brought their whimsical and beautiful merchandise to Disney Parks.

The signature look that distinguishes a Harveys bag is that they are made from seatbelt material providing a sturdy and interesting geometric striped style to their products.

I’ve been a fan of their colorful and fun bags ever since Disney first started carrying their products, however, I’ve never owned one – mostly because if I’m going to spend money on anything, it’s likely to be Alice in Wonderland-themed and until last week, the company had only made one Wonderland-themed bag – a tote-style featuring the Disneyland attraction poster on it. Since I don’t carry anything in this bag style, while I appreciated the look of it, I had no plans to buy it.

And then Harveys announced they’d be making a few new limited-release lines of Wonderland-themed bags, with an in-store sale of the items at their Santa Ana, CA location just prior to an online release the next day.

Again, I might have written this off as another group of bags that I wouldn’t carry… until I saw that one of the bags in the two collections (one themed blue and white striped for Alice and one themed pink striped for Cheshire Cat) was a Cheshire Cat backpack! And I had to go try to get one.

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Cheshire Cat backpack!

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Opening Night of Alice Through the Looking Glass at the El Capitan Theatre

The organist plays prior to the film.

The organist plays prior to the film.

This week I went to the very first showing of the new film Alice Through the Looking Glass on opening night at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

While seeing any Disney film at this Disney-run location is always enjoyable, going on opening night has some definite extra perks!

But first, let me run through what anyone would get to see if they attend a screening of the film here.

As mentioned in a feature last week, when live action films play at the El Cap, they are frequently accompanied by a wonderful costume and props display downstairs from the theater – and this movie was no exception!

Starting by the interior theater entry itself, you could find this Alice costume surrounded by Frog Footman and Fish Footman statues:

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But once you went downstairs, that’s where the real display was! Continue reading

Show Spotlight: Disney “Alice Through The Looking Glass” Sneak Peek

What is Disney “Alice Through The Looking Glass” Sneak Peek?

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The image looks a bit off as it is shown on the screen in 3D. If you put on your 3D glasses in the theater, the title would seem to be floating in front of the background.

This is a 10-minute long promotional preview for the new Disney film Alice Through the Looking Glass at Disney California Adventure (and also at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort playing in the theater at One Man’s Dream). It features extended scenes from the movie and runs only in 3D so you must wear the glasses provided – and return them to the bins outside afterward!

Through the 3D looking glass…

Through the 3D looking glass…

Prior to entering the theater in Hollywood Land, however, you wander through the remnants of the only partially-covered leftover decorations from the Frozen Sing-Along in the hallway and lobby. Once inside the lobby, the only items of note are a pair of photo booths (previously seen at the D23 Expo 2015) which allow the users to step inside and have video projections of themselves morphed into the various Looking Glass characters while the bystanders watch on the video screen outside the booth. I did not try this, but my understanding is that you can then email the video to yourself afterwards.

After a few minutes’ wait for the previous screening to end, you are allowed to enter the theater to wait for the video presentation to begin.

Who are the performers?

A lit movie poster at the entrance to the theater lobby.

A lit movie poster at the entrance to the theater lobby.

There are no performers – just a Cast Member who introduces the preview and tells you when to put on your 3D spectacles!

Otherwise, it’s just what you see onscreen.

Well, maybe not quite… at Disney California Adventure this is advertised as a “4D” experience, meaning there are in-theater effects. Honestly, I only really noticed one – when I was getting rained on (yeah, keep your electronics put away during this one – you’re not allowed to record this show anyway)!

When and where can I find it? Continue reading

Tomorrowland at the El Capitan Theatre – The Costumes and Props Display

One of the best parts of seeing a movie at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California is not just seeing a Disney film in a nice historic movie house (Disney runs this property and only programs their own films there). Nor is it the concessions often included in the price of your movie ticket. It’s not even the chance to hear the organist playing on the awesome Wurlitzer organ. Or the chance to see a pre-show (which can feature some familiar Disney parks performers!).

No, one of the things that I love most about going to the El Capitan when a live action film is playing there is the wonderfully curated exhibit of props and costumes from the film that often accompanies the film runs.

These exhibits are usually housed in a room downstairs from the theatre itself.

A year ago today, the film Tomorrowland was released.  I went to see it play at the El Capitan, and today I’m going to share a few pictures of what this particular costume and props display looked like!

This exhibit was split into two sections with the costumes mainly on one side and props on the other.

Tomorrowland costumes including George Clooney’s.

Tomorrowland costumes including George Clooney’s.

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Top 5 Other Things That Could Be Done With Disneyland’s Tomorrowland

I’ve previously addressed some areas of Disneyland Park that I’d love to see upgraded – one, Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree, is no more and the other, Mickey’s Toontown, is rumored to be a future expansion site, likely for Fantasyland.

So today I’d like to turn your attention to the other land in most dire need of an overhaul at Disneyland Park (and some would argue at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort, too) – Tomorrowland.

Currently, it functions as a temporary Star Wars Land – featuring the Star Tours and Hyperspace Mountain attractions, the Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple show, the Star Wars Launch Bay Meet & Greet location, the Star Wars: Path of the Jedi highlight reel running in the Tomorrowland Theater, plus assorted themed food concoctions such as the meals served at the Galactic Grill (formerly Tomorrowland Terrace). Oh, yeah, there’s Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and the Astro Orbiter there, too. (Okay, and Autopia and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage as well, but they’re so on the outskirts they could still be considered Fantasyland attractions.)

Unfortunately, none of this mish-mash of attractions actually represents anything resembling “tomorrow”. The subs and rockets and cars (despite a recent Autopia refurbishment, still running on gas rather than electric) are all decidedly retro technology, the Toy Story attraction belongs at the Pixar Park – Disney California Adventure, and Star Wars takes place “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”.

So what can be done with Tomorrowland?

In the short term, nothing. While the actual Star Wars Land is being built on the opposite side of the park, Tomorrowland will likely continue to be the temporary version of it for the next few years. But after that, then where will we be?

Well, here are some of my off-the-top-of-my-head personal suggestions…

First off, I’d’ve put Star Wars Land here given the choice, but I accept that the space is not ideal for the matching lands being designed for both Disneyland Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort. But I would’ve been happy to see:

  • Pizza Port or Tomorrowland Terrace become a Star Wars cantina (WITH entertainment daily and nightly)
  • Retheme Buzz Lightyear to Star Wars: Rebels
  • Redesign Astro Orbiter vehicles into landspeeders or Rey’s speeder bike
  • Raze Innoventions and Autopia and put a dark ride there
  • Tear down the People Mover tracks if they can no longer be used OR put an Empire Strikes Back speeder bike attraction up there using a similar system to the new TRON bikes at Shanghai Disneyland
  • Make the subs a visit to an undersea alien world

Second, I’d’ve also been fine with this area becoming a Marvel Land:

  • Innoventions would’ve been a perfect Stark Expo location (keep the Meet & Greets they had and add more as new films were released plus have some technology previews – only keep them current and relevant)
  • Turn Star Tours into a variation of the Iron Man Experience going into Hong Kong Disneyland
  • Retheme the Astro-Orbiter as a trip to Asgard
  • Retheme Buzz Lightyear as an animated Avengers attraction
  • Retheme Space Mountain to Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Just accept that subs and cars are actually part of Fantasyland and adjust the maps

However, since Star Wars Land is happening elsewhere, and the removal of Marvel Meet & Greets from Disneyland to Disney California Adventure is strongly signaling that the rumored Marvel Land will most likely be built somewhere around the Hollywood Land area, neither of these are possibilities for Tomorrowland at this point. So what else could be done? Continue reading

Show Spotlight: Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple

The entrance of the Jedi Master.

The entrance of the Jedi Master.

What is Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple?

Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister face off against the Jedi Master and his apprentice.

Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister face off against the Jedi Master and his apprentice.

The newest iteration of the Jedi Training Academy was introduced as part of the Season of the Force event being celebrated at Disneyland Park in Tomorrowland and at the Walt Disney World Resort’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios in various locations.

Several things have changed from the original version of the show including the characters, the storyline and (in Disneyland) the registration process. Even the light sabers are now updated!

The plot of Trials of the Temple features a Jedi Master and his apprentice, in the course of teaching Jedi-wannabe younglings, who learn that fear is the greatest enemy of all and can only be overcome from within.

In this process of facing their fears, they encounter several dangerous foes.

Who are the performers?

Kylo Ren in the current version of the show.

Kylo Ren in the current version of the show.

The Jedi Master and his apprentice are joined by other Jedi who help guide the younglings in their mastery of their light sabers and facing off against the likes of Darth Vader, the Seventh Sister (from Star Wars: Rebels) and Kylo Ren.

For the first few months of this new show, Darth Maul was the final villain who appeared, but he was recently replaced by Kylo Ren. Continue reading

Character Spotlight: Star Wars Launch Bay

Since we focused on Marvel last week for the release of Captain America: Civil War, it’s only fair that this week’s focus belatedly celebrates Star Wars Day (May the 4th Be With You!). So it’s time to head for the center of all things Star Wars at the Disneyland Resort right now – off to Tomorrowland!

Disneyland Park began its “Season of the Force” (or “Star Wars Awakens” as the promotion is now called) with multiple additions to Tomorrowland including a new Star Wars: The Force Awakens scene placed into Star Tours, a greatest-hits reel of the previous Star Wars films called “Path of the Jedi” airing in the Tomorrowland Theater (former home of Captain Eo), and an updated version of the Jedi Training Academy called Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple (to be spotlighted tomorrow!).

There were also some menu changes in Tomorrowland to add Star Wars-themed food offerings including the one I opted to try: Darth by Chocolate. They call it a parfait, but to me it seemed a mix of chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, red velvet cake and chocolate frosting topped by a dark chocolate (of course!) Darth Vader. It was overwhelmingly rich and despite it being in a reasonably small cup and my being a big chocolate lover, I actually couldn’t quite finish the whole thing myself! So I’d recommend it as a treat to share. It’s available at Pizza Port and at the Galactic Grill (aka Tomorrowland Terrace).

The Darth by Chocolate dessert is even more decadently chocolate than it looks!

The Darth by Chocolate dessert is even more decadently chocolate than it looks!

But my favorite part of this overall event is the addition of Star Wars Meet & Greet characters – mostly found inside the Star Wars Launch Bay (the building formerly known as Innoventions).

I say “mostly” as one of the best enhancements is the roaming First Order Stormtroopers. What makes these so different than the previous Imperial Stormtroopers that had also wandered around Tomorrowland? They talk!

Yes, the best update to these new characters – from the Stormtroopers to several others found in the Launch Bay – is their interactivity and vocals!

The First Order Stormtroopers mean business in Tomorrowland!

The First Order Stormtroopers mean business in Tomorrowland!

These current Stormtroopers don’t just stand around and pose – they deliberately make their way through the crowds and “arrest” random (lucky!) guests! It is SO much fun to watch – and I really hope they “arrest” me at some point, but no luck so far! Guess I just don’t look like an enemy of the First Order!

That’s the fun to be had outside the Launch Bay – but inside is where you’ll find the Meet & Greet characters – both announced and unannounced!

First up: the listed character Meet & Greets… Continue reading