Paradise Garden Bandstand – The Ellis Island Boys

The Ellis Island Boys at Paradise Garden Bandstand.

The Ellis Island Boys at Paradise Garden Bandstand.

The Paradise Garden Bandstand is a small covered stage in the midst of the Paradise Garden eating area of Disney California Adventure. Conveniently located near several quick service food stands with plenty of seating to be found, it’s a great place to stop and relax in the midst of the noise of Paradise Pier.

While lately the stage been used by cultural entertainment themed to the various festivals (recently Viva Navidad and currently the Lunar New Year celebration), between the festival times it is home to some recurring bands such as Sligo Rags (a Celtic band that is a great favorite of a friend of mine and on my want-to-see list) and the group I’ve seen there a few times – The Ellis Island Boys.

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Mousertainment at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts in 2017

While ongoing downsizing of entertainment in the parks unfortunately continues, occasional new (or returning) options do thankfully emerge.

Today, I’d like to take a look at a few new, recent and upcoming offerings at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts that I’m excited about in 2017!

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland

  • THREE beloved experiences are returning to Disneyland Park this year. First, the Main Street Electrical Parade has been brought back from the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort where it has dazzled for the past several years. It will be running at Disneyland from January 20-June 18, 2017. (It is expected that Paint the Night parade will then return for the summer months.) I’m excited to see this classic parade back on Disneyland’s Main Street for the first time in decades and am planning an upcoming feature to spotlight it!
  • Second, perhaps Disneyland Park’s best fireworks show ever – Remember Dreams Come True, the 50th Anniversary spectacular – is returning with weekend performances beginning February 3rd. I always felt this was a far superior representation of the park’s history than Disneyland Forever, which was introduced (and ended) for the 60th anniversary celebration.
  • And finally, after having been closed while the Rivers of America were re-routed for the new Star Wars Land, Fantasmic! will once again brighten the Rivers with its magic and music later this year! While I’m thrilled for this wonderful atmospheric show’s return, rumor has it that it is being significantly revised, losing the extremely popular Peter Pan and Hook sequence in favor of a Pirates of the Caribbean scene. We’ll see how this changes the show, but since the original was pretty close to perfect (except maybe the silly Pinocchio bit), it’s going to have to work extra hard to impress!

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Two Years of Mousertainment

It’s incredible to me, as I scroll through two years of articles I’ve written here on this Mousertainment site, to think about all the folks from around the world who’ve stopped by to check out the site during that time.

My extreme thanks to those of you who chose to stay awhile and have opted to follow the site and get notifications whenever I post new features. I hope I can further entertain and inform you in the next year.

It was my original intention – and one that I continue to honor – to celebrate the talented people and wonderful shows I’ve had the pleasure of getting to see regularly over the past several years at the Disney Parks and Resorts.

I’ve also enjoyed getting to cover the occasional off-site show or topic as well. But they usually have a Mouse-y connection somewhere!

As I embark on year three, I intend to go see more shows, discover new amazing performers and bring them to your attention. (Although perhaps at a slightly reduced posting pace – likely only one feature per week unless circumstances and subjects dictate otherwise!)

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It’s also my dream for this year to return to the Walt Disney World Resort as it has been too long since my last visit and I miss seeing the singers and dancers and musicians and shows there! If I can work out a trip later this year, I promise to return with more photos, videos and reviews of the current state of entertainment at that Resort! Continue reading

Performer Spotlight Flashback: Tex Tumbleweed @ Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue Stage Show

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A year ago this week, one of my favorite shows and venues in Disneyland Park closed its gates forever – on January 10, 2016, The Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue and its wonderful show with Miss Chris and Tex Tumbleweed entertained and fed guests for the last time.

I still don’t think there’s a location, restaurant or show that compares in the Disneyland Resort (though there may be one or two at Walt Disney World Resort) and I miss it greatly.

In retrospect, although I visited quite often, especially in its last two years of operation, I wish I’d visited more and I’m very sad I never took video there as I was too busy eating the wonderful food and watching the terrific show!

But no matter how often you visit a show at a Disney park, there are some performers you may see fairly often and others that seem like they are as rare a sighting as a unicorn.

In honor of the BBQ and its show, today I’ll flashback to the one and only time I was lucky enough to catch this guy there and share a few pics from the day. Continue reading

Mousertainment Movies: What’s Worth Watching in 2017?

Today I look ahead to the films being released in 2017 and make my best guesses as to which ones will be worth watching in theaters (for me at least!), although a few may wait for home entertainment releases.

There are a good amount of big tentpole films that are must-see for me in the coming year, but there are also a few smaller films on my radar as well.

Here is my list in order of how much I’m anticipating seeing them!

10) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)

Reasons I want to see it:

  • Drax
  • Baby Groot
  • Kurt Russell as Ego
  • Chris Pratt as Star-Lord
  • Continuation of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) storyline

9) Cars 3 (Jun 16)

Reasons I want to see it:

  • Pixar
  • Another visit with the wonderful Cars characters
  • Really hoping it’s better than Cars 2

8) Stephen King’s It (Sep 8)

Reasons I want to see it:

  • Love the original source material
  • Love the original mini-series – it’s absolutely perfect and this will have a lot to live up to but I’m strangely rather optimistic about it.
  • Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise – nobody can compare to Tim Curry in his defining take on this role, but it looks like they’re going for a different style here and I am a big fan of all of the Skarsgards – Bill was terrific in the wonderful Netflix series Hemlock Grove. He can definitely do menacing and creepy.

7) Kong: Skull Island (Mar 10)

Reasons I want to see it:

  • Tom Hiddleston
  • I’ve yet to see a King Kong movie I really like but I am intrigued by the concept and origins of the character.
  • I miss the amazing banana-breath audio-animatronic version of King Kong at Universal Studios Hollywood.  Not sure anything digital will ever top anything practical, however.

6) Murder on the Orient Express (Nov 22)

Reasons I want to see it:

  • Director Kenneth Branagh
  • Agatha Christie stories are always fun
  • Stellar cast

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Mousertainment Movies: What Was Worth Watching in 2016?

Today I will look back to my predictions at this time last year to see if I guessed correctly as to what films were worth watching and therefore brought me out to see them in theaters in 2016 (marked with an *) and which films I opted to wait to see as home entertainment releases.

Below were my picks in January 2016 in their original order of my interest in seeing them. At the end of the feature, I’ll put them in the order in which I actually liked them best!

Here was what I was looking forward to a year ago:

10) Finding Dory *

Reasons I wanted to see it:

  • Pixar
  • Ellen Degeneres as Dory

Reasons to go see it:

  • Baby Dory
  • Otters and Sea Lions
  • Ellen Degeneres as Dory

9) Zootopia *

Reasons I wanted to see it:

  • Disney animation
  • Ginnifer Goodwin as Judy Hopps
  • Humor looks cute

Reasons to go see it:

  • Flash
  • Probably the most entertaining story of the three Disney and Pixar releases this year
  • Appealing original world and characters

8) Gambit

Reasons I wanted to see it:

  • Continuation of X-Men Universe storyline
  • Channing Tatum reportedly really wanted the role – let’s see what he does with it!

Reasons I didn’t go see it:

  • A few weeks after this list was originally posted, this film was pushed back to a future production date. It has not yet been released.

7) X-Men: Apocalypse

Reasons I wanted to see it:

  • Continuation of X-Men Universe storyline
  • Finally getting to see a proper-looking Professor X in the prequel timeline!
  • Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy

Reasons I didn’t go see it:

  • Waiting for home entertainment release

6) Moana *

Reasons I wanted to see it:

  • Disney animation
  • Dwayne Johnson as Maui
  • But let’s not forget Lilo & Stitch did a Hawaiian-set film first!

Reasons to go see it:

  • Terrific soundtrack
  • Dwayne Johnson as Maui
  • But Lilo & Stitch is still a way better film 

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Where the Bands Are… January-March 2017

Looking forward to seeing more Grilled Cheese Soundwich in 2017!

Looking forward to seeing more Grilled Cheese Soundwich in 2017!

As a happy start to the New Year, I’m pleased to share the news that it looks like the bands will continue to play in Downtown Disney through at least March!

This means more awesome opportunities to spend evenings listening to terrific cover bands like The 80z All-Stars, TOMASINA, Hiatus, Grilled Cheese Soundwich and more!

I haven’t seen a confirmed March schedule yet, so there will only be two tentative dates to mark on your calendars for then, but if you’re looking to rock out with some great bands on Rockin’ Wednesdays, here’s who you can check out in January and February (schedule as always subject to change)! Continue reading