Performer Spotlight: Gamora @ Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance-Off!

“You all totally rock.”

The totally awesome Gamora!

There are three reasons I absolutely love the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance-Off! show at Disney California Adventure:

First, the music and dancing are super fun!

Second, Star-Lord. No, but really, Star-Lord.

And last but definitely not least, this girl.

Again, sometimes you just get ridiculously lucky and find exactly the right person in exactly the right show – and along with Star-Lord, this girl is it.

Everything about her is on point – from her look to her ‘tude. She’s tough, intimidating, confident, cool. And she certainly would never dance.

Well… Continue reading

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Performer Spotlight: Star-Lord @ Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance-Off!

“Fox on the run…”

Okay, yeah, I’ve been singing the praises of the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance-Off show a LOT during the Summer of Heroes event at Disney California Adventure these past few months. But when a show is particularly great, I tend to say so. And when a performer is particularly great, I tend to shout it from the rooftops. Or at least from the blog!

So this guy…

Star-Lord!

Pretty much owned me as a fan from the first second I saw him walking through the onlookers while talking snark to Gamora. He’s got an ease and effortless nonchalance that’s utterly appealing and immediately puts the audience into an appropriately amused and upbeat mood for the show.

He’s funny, he can dance, he’s terrific when improvising and engaging with the crowd and he utterly melted my heart last week when he dropped down on his knees to interact with a little special needs girl in the crowd who he brought up to dance with him. Talented and a gentle soul/big heart? Winner! Continue reading

Performers Spotlight: Dapper Ken and Dapper Wesley and Dapper David and Bonus Dapper Frank @ The Dapper Dans of Disneyland

“Laughter on the levee, no one’s heart is heavy…”

In this patriotic week, I realized that I am long overdue to spotlight several of our bass-singing Dapper Dans of Disneyland – those staples of Main Street, U.S.A.!

These talented low-vocal red-and-white-costumed fellows provide much of the levity and comedy in the Dapper Dan routines, so I wanted to give a quick shout-out to a few more of these talented guys!

First up is Dapper Ken – Ken is a jovial gentleman for whom Dappering seems to be not just second nature, but first! Some people just seem so right in their roles and Ken is one of them! He’s got a lovely warm voice and an equally warm personality to go with it – with just a hint (okay, maybe more than a hint) of mischief in his eyes as well. He’s particularly fun to watch during the Halloween Dapper sets.  I always wind up grinning when Ken is performing!

Dapper Ken

Next up is Dapper Wesley – Wesley is simply the one of the most perfect period performers at the park! He is the epitome of mid-century middle America and every time I watch him I keep thinking it’s like he stepped right out of “Leave it To Beaver” or a Jimmy Stewart film and into 1955 Disneyland Park. Watching Wesley is a total time warp for me and a great atmospheric addition whenever he’s there.

Dapper Wesley

On certain occasions, Wesley has also been known to sing baritone – such as one day when he was found in that blue-striped role while another bass, Dapper Frank (a returned but still rare to spot longtime Dapper Dan), was in red! 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

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

The Time Has Come – A Farewell to T, Part Two

“Our time is running out…”

One of my last pictures at the end of the final night of the Diamond Mad T Party.

One of my last pictures from the end of the final night of the Diamond Mad T Party.

Yes, you will feel like you stepped through the looking glass as we take one more farewell look back at some of the amazing performers from The Mad T Party, whose stage has now gone the way of all things park-past…

Today we’ll turn a spotlight on:

Mad Hatter:

Hatter singing his face off – and ours, too – while Dormouse peeks around from the side!

Hatter singing his face off – and ours, too – while Dormouse peeks around from the side!

This guy brought me to tears with the beauty of his farewell speeches both at the end of the run of the original Mad T Party as well as the Diamond Mad T Party. Somehow he managed to captured the emotions, the gravity and the beauty of the experience and express it so eloquently to the fans both new and old. And I’ll never forget those moments.

But what I remember most about him on the Mad T stage was not his singing and hosting talent (which he had in abundance), so much as the incredible generosity of spirit he had towards his co-host Alice. He was always beyond gracious and encouraging letting her take the spotlight and show what she could do, and it is a rare kind of class and selflessness in a lead performer to give someone else the space to shine. He repeatedly impressed me with his positive, respectful, and supportive treatment of his fellow cast. Kudos. Continue reading

You’ve Lost Your Muchness – A Farewell to T, Part One

“We are not permanent – we’re temporary, temporary…”

The Hollywood Backlot – former home of the Mad T Party.

The Hollywood Backlot – former home of The Mad T Party.

Over the past few weeks, construction (destruction?) in the Hollywood Backlot at Disney California Adventure has taken down the last remnants of the dance parties other than the often-shuttered drink stands. The Mad T Party main stage that also once hosted the ElecTRONica dancers is no more.

It’s a painful unreality now to walk back there, where once a magically mad band, DJ’s, dancers, aerialists, flamingoes and a WhoRU entertained the evening crowds.

Over the past two years on this site, I’ve celebrated a lot of the incredibly talented folks who performed regularly there, but I never quite got around to featuring everyone. So this weekend, I’d like to give a few more T shout-outs to a few more folks who kept the party going over the years. I don’t have pictures of the entire cast there, so we’re missing at least a Cheshire Cat as well as some of the dance crew.

But here are a couple more folks who we’ll give a tip of a haT to including:

Mad Hatter:

Hatter and Caterpillar.

Hatter and Caterpillar.

This guy always kept the ladies in the crowd cheering between his dance moves and his husky voice. Continue reading