Character Spotlight: Disneyland Resort Update April 2017

And in the category of – you just never know what “characters” you’ll run into at a Disney Park – you probably already heard that Johnny Depp made a surprise appearance this week at Disneyland Park, dressed in full Captain Jack Sparrow regalia and greeted guests riding the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction! Now that’s an effective reminder that next month the new movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, will be released and we should all go check it out for more adventures with our favorite pirate captain!

While sadly I wasn’t there for it, I was getting updates from friends as it happened and it sounded like a swashbuckling good time was had by all.

This follows Depp’s previous interactive video booth appearance in character as the Mad Hatter at Disneyland to promote Alice Through the Looking Glass.

But although such promotions are incredibly fun, they are pretty much once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and luck of the draw if you happen to be there.

Fortunately, for the rest of us, Disney Parks and Resorts continue to surprise us with various character appearances and while you never can predict who may pop up without warning to Meet & Greet, it’s always worth keeping your eyes open for an opportunity!

For example, I’ve only been lucky enough to spot Belle & Beast once wandering through Fantasyland at Disneyland Park this year, but I’ve seen Gaston walking there at least two or three times.

I haven’t always had my camera at hand, however. But I was quite lucky I did a few weeks ago, when who should I see waddling quickly through Fantasyland? Continue reading

Where the Bands Are… and the DJs Too! April-May 2017

Yes, I’m late for a very important date! And I suppose I can’t blame the White Rabbit for this one…

The problem is, there is very little in the way of a set schedule that I know of for the time being so I’ve been waiting until I heard more to post. But since no further info seems to be coming this way at the moment, I’ll just drop these few tidbits here for today for those who need a Downtown Disney music fix at the Disneyland Resort!

While I’m a big supporter of all live music and entertainment at the Disney Parks & Resorts, I’ll admit to having favorite groups. So since very few of those have been scheduled here for the past few weeks, I haven’t been going to this location as much.

However, there are two upcoming Rockin’ Wednesdays I hope to get to because one of my favorite bands – The 80z All-Stars – are scheduled to perform those evenings from 6-10pm on the main Downtown Disney stage by the ESPN Zone:

Wednesday, April 26 – The 80z All-Stars

Wednesday, May 10 – The 80z All-Stars

And while there haven’t been others of my favorite live bands there lately whom I’ve wanted to see, there is another option for Downtown Disney entertainment worth mentioning:

Thursday night Dueling DJs!

Yes – this fun experience pits two DJs against each other to battle it out to see who can play the tunes that get the most people in the crowd dancing! Especially fun to see at the turntables are some familiar faces whom the eagle-eyed may recognize from The Mad T Party! (Speaking of following the White Rabbit…)

While these DJ battles have been scheduled regularly for the past few months at that same main stage as the bands in Downtown Disney, there is a particularly fun event happening there this coming Thursday, April 27th: Continue reading

My Global Disney Parks & Resorts Bucket List

A hint/spoiler for the top of my “bucket” list!

Earlier this week on April 12, Disneyland Paris (originally “EuroDisney”) celebrated 25 years since its opening. Some friends of mine were there amidst the bustle and festivities. Along with various merchandise offerings, there was a grand promenade of 25 rare characters including those from more obscure films like Treasure Planet and Meet the Robinsons. Special appearances also included Jessica Rabbit, Pleakley from Lilo & Stitch, and – most exciting to me – the Cheshire Cat and March Hare!

And yet impressive as this was, given the opportunity, Disneyland Paris would still be lower on the list of global/non-U.S. mainland Disney locations that I’d most like to visit.

I’ve previously shared my “Disney Do” list of Disney experiences I’d like to someday have, but today I’m going to share my global Disney Parks & Resorts list of where I would go if I won the lottery or if someone magically said “you can go anywhere in the world today – where would you like to go?” (Because of course my answer would be somewhere Disney!)

5. Aulani

  • To be honest, I have very little interest in visiting Aulani as it seems to be too much of a hybrid – it’s Hawaii by Disney and therefore, to me, seems to be not enough Hawaii if I was looking for that authentic experience and not enough Disney if I was looking for that magical experience. It is lowest on my Disney priorities, however, if I really did win the lottery and could visit EVERY Disney location in the world, I’d certainly stop here, too. The resort looks lovely and the lazy river looks very relaxing. If I was doing a global tour, this would be my final stop to just slow down and rest at the end of it all.

4. Disneyland Paris

  • The home of the first Alice in Wonderland maze attraction (this one dedicated to the original animated version of the film) also has a unique Ratatouille-themed area in its Walt Disney Studios Park. While I’d start with those two attractions, I’d also be interested in seeing their parades and lights and fireworks spectaculars, along with the Paris-exclusive live shows such as Forest of Enchantment and Mickey and the Magician. I also like that their interpretation of Tomorrowland – called Discoveryland – has a steampunk vibe to it, and of course visiting their Phantom Manor attraction (their variation on the Haunted Mansion) and seeing the dragon that lies beneath their castle would be musts, too! Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Sal @ Red Car Trolley News Boys

On April 10, 1992, Disney released the musical film Newsies. While by no means an instant hit, it nonetheless developed a strong cult following. In 2012, a stage version began performances on Broadway. Also in 2012, the Red Car Trolley News Boys began their daily show at Disney California Adventure and it is still one of my favorites at the Disneyland Resort.

So in honor of this auspicious occasion, I shall seize the day and celebrate one of my favorite News Boys… or should I say gals?

Hiya, Sal!

Yes, today I’m throwing my two cents to Sal!

Personally, I’ve always thought Sal has the most challenging part in the show – not only is she dancing (and selling papers) with the guys, but she gets to participate in the more acrobat moments of their set – at various points winding up sitting on the guys’ shoulders or being tossed from one set of performers to another or getting carried and twirled around! Talk about confidence! Continue reading

T-Time Marches On

A year ago this week, the Diamond Mad T Party iteration of the Mad T Party at Disney California Adventure closed. So for the past several days, much of the T fandom has been in a reflective mood – some leaning towards mourning again, others towards nostalgia. Still others expressed gratitude for what we had and how the community has continued in the wake of the end of a show that touched so many lives for its four years of existence.

Closing T-ime – March 30, 2016.

Yesterday I wandered over to T’s former home in the Hollywood Backlot area – currently mostly filled with Food & Wine Festival décor like a food booth, a soundstage with merchandise, and a culinary demonstration set up on the former T dance stage. I also saw what looked like a temporary new stage set up to accommodate the visiting performing school bands while the dance stage is currently occupied. (Although some have theorized that perhaps this could be the new location for the upcoming entertainment for the Summer of Heroes.)

Temporary performing stage in the Hollywood Backlot.

You’ll notice next to that stage the remnants of the House of Cards bar still stands, a lone reminder of what used to be here.

Also from Hollywood Land (and really from just about everywhere in the Disneyland Resort), you can see the rising/evolving Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT overlay engulfing the former Tower of Terror. Another stark reminder that the Resort will always evolve – whether you like it or not. Continue reading