Season’s Treatings – Christmas Treats at the Disneyland Resort 2017

I was tempted to call this Season’s Treatings feature the “Pastry Edition” as all but one of the new items that I’ve tried during Christmas Time at the Disneyland Resort involved pastries!

Let me start with the first one I tried – which was definitely a favorite!

Cinnamon Roll Apple Strudel Sundae!

Available at Clarabelle’s Handscooped Ice Cream on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure, the Cinnamon Roll Apple Strudel Sundae was the first new item to call my name!

Fortunately, it’s been a warm month, so the weather was just right for this cold treat!

Now, those of you who have read some of my food features previously will know that when it comes to dessert, if it’s not chocolate, it’s not very likely to appeal to me. That said, I do also have a great weakness for cinnamon desserts, so this one, although SUPER sweet (as in, prepare for a sugar rush upon eating it) was an absolute winner!

This unique mixture of actual tart apple slices mixed with cinnamon ice cream and whipped cream atop a gooey cinnamon roll was absolutely terrific! (There may also have been some caramel drizzled upon it, but the two strongest tastes were apple and cinnamon.) I really enjoyed this one.

Unfortunately, the other options struggled a little bit in comparison to that one… Continue reading

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Resort Hotels Mousertainment – Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel Piano

“Oh, but it’s cold outside…”

What is Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel Piano?

Inside the majestic Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, hotel guests and day guests alike may enjoy the song stylings distilled from the (appropriately enough) grand piano here!

While I tend more often to stop and indulge in the music when one of their talented piano players is working their melodic magic, I’m pretty sure I’ve been there in the past when it sounded like it was a player piano that was performing on its own. That may have been piped in, but in passing I thought it sounded like it came from the piano.

The musical mix here ranges from Disney classics (so those young and old can recognize and appreciate them) to seasonal favorites, such as the predominantly Christmas music filling the hall this month.

Who are the performers?

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting when different musicians sat at the piano. Many play songs strictly from memory, others use books. Some will take song requests. Others have been known to occasionally sing in accompaniment to their playing.

When and where can I find it? Continue reading

Downtown Disney and Resort Hotels Mousertainment – Christmas Carolers at the Disneyland Resort 2017

The Beverly Belles singing holiday songs at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

If you’re feeling the need for Christmas cheer this season at the Disneyland Resort… umm… it’s everywhere!

But if you’re specifically yearning to hear some Christmas carolers, then Downtown Disney and the Disneyland resort hotels are the places to go!

First off, if you’re in Downtown Disney, you may want to check out Holiday Harmony – a contemporary a capella caroling group performing in front of the WonderGround Gallery.

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Holiday Harmony!

Their schedule for the season (always subject to change as with all things Disney) is as follows:

Four half hour sets begin at 5pm, 6pm, 7pm and 8pm (or 7:30pm and 8:30pm – the band’s schedule notes different times than the park does! I’ll see if I can confirm which is correct on my next park run) on the following dates:

  • Friday-Sunday – December 1-3
  • Thursday-Sunday – December 7-10
  • Thursday-Sunday – December 14-17
  • Monday-Monday – December 18-25

Update 12/5/17: I checked and 7:30pm and 8:30pm are the correct set times for this group.

But it you want to step inside the resort hotels – and step back in time a bit – you can enjoy other caroling groups, too! Continue reading

Cast Members Making Magic – Water Paintings and Leaf Pictures

In this week of celebrating what we are thankful for, my thoughts turn once again to the many amazing Disney Cast Members who manage to make magic for their guests in different kinds of ways all year long – day and night.

In a previous feature, I’ve noted how you can thank them in return. Please take a little time out of your visit to find a reason to do so.

For today, I would like to spotlight a couple of magical artistic moments I experienced recently at the Disneyland Resort that brightened my day with their unexpected appearances!

I’ve been fortunate enough to watch talented members of the Disney parks custodial team create Disney character water paintings with their mops and buckets, and recently I had a wonderful Cast Member at Disneyland Park create one just for me when he saw me wearing clothes featuring my favorite character!

A custodial Cast Member making character art especially for me!

The final result:

Cheshire Cat water painting.

It completely made my night when that lovely Cast Member did this!

Then, not long ago, I was at Disney California Adventure and found another custodial Cast Member creating art in a different way – he was making Mickey Mouse icons out of fallen leaves!

This was both a surprising, happy bit of Disney magic and art as well as a wonderful celebration of the fall season. And since I’m not quite ready to get fully into Christmas mode just yet, I wanted to share these lovely creations with you. Continue reading

Thor: Ragnarok Preview and Character Meet & Greet at Disney California Adventure

Thor finds himself in a bit of a predicament that may seem familiar to those who have seen Thor: Ragnarok.

Disney California Adventure has become THE place to go to get your Marvel fix. From my current favorite show, the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!, to character Meet & Greets to movie previews, you can find it all in Hollywood Land. Oh, and there’s also that little E-ticket attraction called Mission: BREAKOUT!

But for today’s feature, let’s talk Thor: Ragnarok!

Since mid-October, the Sunset Showcase Theater in the Hollywood Backlot has been running a preview for the latest Marvel blockbuster – Thor: Ragnarok. And as has become the norm, the lobby area of the theater contains props and costumes from the film.

Display of Thor: Ragnarok costumes at the Sunset Showcase Theater in Disney California Adventure.

There are also themed snacks and drinks to be found at Award Weiners (my personal opinion: avoid the “Lightning Pop” drink!).

But the complete and utter win of this entire promotion belongs squarely to the brother gods of Asgard who have deigned to visit our humble planet and grace us with their presence. And lo, it is a glorious presence indeed! Continue reading

Mousertainment Music: Love & War One Year Anniversary Concert

Love & War musicians and some of the singers.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the release of a terrific rock album called “Love & War”. This time last year I had a blast at the live concert performance of the album. And to celebrate the first anniversary, the performers held a private concert party to play the songs live one more time and I was lucky enough to be able to attend!

As the show quickly sold out (and a second one was added which also rapidly sold out!), I was very fortunate to get one of the coveted spots to be there and while I knew this was going to be a smaller show than the full out rock epic we experienced last year, I suspected there would still be some great surprises in store – and there were!

While the album release concert last year featured almost all of the original singers from the album doing their songs live, not everyone was available this time around so we got to hear some different performers doing great covers of the songs and in a real treat, got to experience two of the songwriters singing their own songs off the album! Continue reading

The Changing Face of Downtown Disney – Part Two

A few weeks ago, I wrote about some of the changes coming to Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort. At the time, these involved some stores closing to make way for new opportunities like the Star Wars VR experience expected to open in the coming months, as well as the planned opening of Splitsville restaurant and bowling alley.

While these were anticipated additions to the entertainment options in Downtown Disney (as Splitsville was announced as a venue for live performing acts as well), a major announcement from Disney this past week about Resort expansion will be changing the future of this area and removing other entertainment locations permanently.

The Walt Disney Company has revealed that a new luxury hotel will be built on the current west end of Downtown Disney just past the monorail station and in front of the Disneyland Hotel. Construction will begin by next spring. As a result, everything in between will be removed, including the AMC Theater, The ESPN Zone, The Rainforest Café and the Earl of Sandwich restaurants. It potentially also would lead to the closure of the Disney Vacation Club storefront along with the second Downtown Disney Starbucks location. It is, however, unclear if the current location of the Disney Pin Traders store just past the monorail stop will remain.

While much outrage was aimed at the potential loss of the wonderful Earl of Sandwich quick service location (count me in as one more voice desperately hoping they will be relocated elsewhere on property! The Earl serves great food at a great price point and would be sorely missed!), I want to focus for today on the impending removal of four entertainment locations. Continue reading