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

Character Spotlight: Mickey Mouse at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts

In honor of the birthday of the Mouse that started it all, I thought today would be a good day to run through some of the places where you can see and/or meet with Mickey Mouse himself at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

I’d suggest trying some of these spots!

Disneyland Resort


  • Mickey Mouse can often be spotted in Town Square on Main Street, USA doing a Meet & Greet with guests. But the best place to find him for daily Meet & Greets is in Mickey’s House in ToonTown!
Mickey Mouse March!

Mickey Mouse March!

  • Mickey Mouse joins the Disneyland Band and the Dapper Dans in a March-Along held generally around late morning or lunchtime each day.  While the March-Along is usually announced over the loudspeakers a few minutes beforehand in Town Square, your best bet is to check at City Hall in the morning to ask when it will happen. Mickey also participates in the Soundsational parade (and seasonally he can currently be seen in A Christmas Fantasy Parade).
Hiya Mickey!

Mickey says hi in his Mapmaker outfit!

  • Mickey and the Magical Map – watch Mickey Mouse learn the secrets of the map in this wonderful musical theatrical adventure as he aspires to become a fully-fledged mapmaker!

Check your daily Entertainment Times Guide or the Disneyland app for the schedules for the parades and showtimes. 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

Super Hero HQ Flashback and the New Marvel Meet & Greet at Disney California Adventure

Mousertainment Memorandum: It was a tough call this week whether to feature Star Wars (as this week we celebrated the universe on May the 4th) or Marvel in honor of the release of Captain America: Civil War. Cap won. REALLY excited to see the movie tomorrow – I hope it’s as good as it looks!

IMG_5870 cr wm

Just a few months after it had opened above the Star Wars Launch Bay in the former Innoventions building in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, Super Hero HQ quietly closed.

However, while it was open for those couple of months, it housed the Iron Man Tech exhibit, the Thor Meet & Greet location, and replacing the original Captain America Meet & Greet spot was a Meet & Greet with Spider-Man.

Before the area closed, I made sure to stop by upstairs one last time to visit Thor in Asgard and to check out the Spider-Man Meet & Greet.

Thor, you are already missed!

Thor, you are already missed!

While I’ve always loved Spidey, and in fact his is one of my most favorite Super Hero movies, I was so annoyed by Cap losing his spot to Peter Parker, that until it was closing, I hadn’t bothered to go visit Spidey. And that was clearly my mistake. Continue reading

Character Spotlight: (Year of the) Monkeys at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts

In this Lunar New Year celebrating the Year of the Monkey, I thought it would be fun to take a look at where we can find some our furry friends around the parks!

Disneyland Resort


Rafiki at Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park.

Rafiki at Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park.

  • Your first morning stop to try for a monkey Meet & Greet should be Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park at the Plaza Inn at the end of Main Street, U.S.A.  No character is ever guaranteed to be here except Minnie herself, but Rafiki, the mandrill baboon from The Lion King can often be found at this location.
  • Your afternoon entertainment should include Mickey’s Soundsational Parade traveling along a route between Main Street and Fantasyland, where you can find dancing monkeys along with King Louie from The Jungle Book preceding The Lion King float.
IMG_6029 cr wm

King Louie at Mickey and the Magical Map.

  • And if you didn’t get enough of King Louie dancing along the parade route, stroll on over to Mickey and the Magical Map in Fantasyland where he performs his famous song “I Wanna Be Like You” aka “The Monkey Song”!
  • Or if audio-animatronic monkeys are more to your liking, take a trip aboard the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland and you may find a few gorillas causing some trouble along the way!

Walt Disney World Resort

Continue reading

A Disney Christmas Tree Lighting at Fashion Island Mall

Mousertainment Memorandum: Apologies for another late night post, but once again, I had to make an unusual weeknight Mousertainment run to the park to see a very special performance of Aladdin at Disney California Adventure – which I will report on at a later date!  But in the meantime, let’s bring on the Disney Christmastime coverage!

While the Disney Parks have been in full holiday mode for several weeks now, in Southern California the season really kicks off with an off-property event!

IMG_7499 sm wm

The Christmas Tree at Fashion Island Mall once it was officially lit.

For the past several years at the Fashion Island outdoor mall in Newport Beach, Disney has hosted the first weekend of the center’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting with performances by park entertainment and Disney characters. It is co-hosted by local television station KTLA, who also recorded the event the first weekend of November to air on Thanksgiving night.

In honor of the Disneyland 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration, the decorations this year prominently featured the 60th anniversary logos and the characters arrived decked out in their anniversary outfits. This year’s cast of characters included Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and of course, Olaf. No, they still won’t “let it go” and the Disneyland Resort utilized the event as an opportunity to promote various holiday activities in the park including Olaf’s Snow Fest.

Hiya Daisy!

Hiya Daisy!

But the reason that I went this year was to see some of the wonderful Mousertainment cast from the park singing Christmas songs (and “Let It Go”, of course) as they danced merrily around the stage. Continue reading

Tigger and G – A Magical Moment in the Park

Sometimes the best magical moments in a Disney Park aren’t even about you – they’re about what you see happen to other people.

I’ve witnessed my fair share of marriage proposals (and even a promposal!), for example, at Disney Parks. This is always special and exciting, even when it involves complete strangers.

But it’s not just about big events.  Sometimes, it’s the little things that can be so memorable, too – like spotting someone walking onto Main Street, U.S.A. for their very first time ever and enjoying the sheer wonder on their face as a smile spreads across it.

There is something about watching the magic at Disney unfold, either planned or spontaneous, that just fills your heart with joy.

One such spontaneous experience happened one day while I was sitting near the Firehouse on Main Street at Disneyland Park… Continue reading