We Wants the Redhead!

As always, this article reflects my personal opinions and observations, not those of anyone else.

This week I went on Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Park to have one last visit with the Redhead, as one of so many guests who have admired and appreciated this beautiful audio-animatronic character creation over the years.

On Monday, April 23rd, the attraction will be closing for a few months and this iconic scene will be altered to better reflect the current audience’s sensibilities. The Redhead will be transforming into a buccaneer herself, running an auction of goods, rather than an object of human trafficking as she is now seen as portrayed through a modern lens.  So the original bride auction version of the Redhead is going, though not everyone is happy about it, with some feeling it is destroying a piece of Disney history and Imagineering design in the process.

Thinking about this change and the furor over it made me realize that the park is really serving several different masters at this point, making it quite impossible to please everyone.

As I see it, there are three types of guests who go to Disney Parks:

  1. The old school hardcore Disney fans – those who have been visiting the parks for decades. They like things as they are – or preferably, as Walt Disney and his WED/Imagineering Legends originally created them. They resist change for any reason, and especially hate what they see as ‘change for the sake of change’ – which often means the adding of IP or “Intellectual Property” to a classic non-IP attraction. See the uproar over: The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management), It’s a Small World (with added Disney characters), Maelstrom becoming Frozen Ever After, shortening the Rivers of America to make room for Galaxy’s Edge, or the various changes the Pirates attraction has already undergone from adding movie characters like Captain Jack Sparrow, Barbossa and Davy Jones to the first politically correct updates made several years ago so the pirates would no longer be chasing the women, but instead chase food or have the women chase them. This crowd feels the park was always better ‘back in the day’ and few changes ever improve an attraction or a park.
  2. The modern Annual Passholder – the folks who go to the park several times a year or once a month or even once (or more) per week. For this group, they like change and expect and embrace it! They want the parks to be constantly evolving and offering them something new every few months at least to make the experience different. This crowd is often social media driven and looking for the latest thing to post on their Instagram, Facebook, etc. So new is always good and desirable – from new food and merchandise, to show updates, to a new “wall” to take a selfie against. This group demands that Disney constantly change to keep their attention.  And whether something has history in the park or not, if it’s outdated in its representation, these folks would often support its eviction or replacement with something new.
  3. The tourist – those folks taking an occasional or even once-in-a-lifetime trip to a Disney Park. This group wants a mix of both! They want the classic Disney Parks experience that they’ve always heard about, but also something unique to make their trip special and different to their neighbors’ who may go in another year. As long as they have a good time – whatever experiences that includes – it was worth the visit!

So how can Disney please all these different kinds of guests? There may be no answer to that other than perhaps giving everyone a little of what they want, even if they can’t have it all. Continue reading

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Disneyland Resort Pixar Fest 2018 – Entertainment

From April 13th to September 3rd, the Disneyland Resort will be hosting Pixar Fest – a celebration of all things Pixar. As expected with seasonal events, there will be special food and merchandise offered. And on June 23rd, Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure will officially reopen as Pixar Pier with newly re-themed attractions and venues. But as usual, what I’m looking forward to most are the entertainment options!

Since we have the whole summer to enjoy this event, I’ll slowly work my way through the various offerings, but here are the highlights of what I’m looking forward to seeing:

Disneyland Park

  • Will the Dapper Dans add some of Pixar greatest hits into their repertoire? The park website seems to hint at it, so I’ll be sure to check and report back!
  • Pixar Play Parade – with new floats and characters added, it will make its way up and down the parade route here as it migrates over from its original home at Disney California Adventure.
  • Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular – the new Pixar-themed fireworks show features the UP house with balloons floating over the castle!
  • Pixar Pals Dance Party – starting June 8th at Tomorrowland Terrace, party it up with characters that will supposedly include: Russell, Dug, Woody, Jessie, the Green Army Men and more!  (This pretty strongly implies that we won’t have bands at this venue this summer.  And since the Downtown Disney main stage will also be gone by the end of June, Disney California Adventure is our only hope now for live musical entertainment this summer as the Dance Party will likely be DJ-driven.) Continue reading

How to Have a Romantic Valentine’s Day at the Disney Parks & Resorts

With Valentine’s Day coming up soon, you may be thinking about how best to celebrate the day. You could always curl up at home with a good romantic Disney or Pixar film!

But perhaps you’d rather spend the day at the Disney Parks & Resorts with your loved one?

In that case, I hope you’ve gotten your dining reservations done in advance, as it is a very popular day for a special Disney meal!

While some folks will opt for a fancy table service meal for some fine dining (and there are PLENTY of choices ranging from the atmospheric Blue Bayou at Disneyland Park to the delicious Le Cellier at EPCOT), maybe you and your loved one prefer to enjoy a real Disney meal with character? In which case, there’s very little that can top the magic of dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table inside Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom – unless it’s dining at Be Our Guest in Fantasyland nearby!

Personally, I think one of the best combinations over at the Disneyland Resort is having dinner and a movie. Now, you could (for now) visit the AMC Theatres in Downtown Disney and pair that with a meal, but really my favorite way to do this is right on Main Street U.S.A.! Continue reading

Rockin’ in the New Year at the Disneyland Resort 2017-2018

A New Year’s Eve countdown has already begun in Disney California Adventure!

While I prefer not to be out on the roads for New Year’s Eve, if I was looking for some great live entertainment that night, there’s a good chance you’d find me at the Disneyland Resort! With so many musical options happening this night, though, I might need to clone myself to be in multiple places at once!

At Disneyland Park, there will be DJs from Sleeping Beauty Castle to It’s a Small World and Tomorrowland Terrace.

If you want to rock out with a great band, all-girl rockers The Suffragettes will be performing at Tomorrowland Terrace (with the DJ spinning between their sets). The band sets are scheduled for 8:40pm, 9:45pm, 10:45pm, 11:45pm and 12:45am (subject as always to change).

Or if you’re in a mood to swing in the New Year, head over to the Royal Theatre where the Royal Swing Band Ball with Swing Cats Big Band will be playing at 7:15pm, 8:15pm, 10:30pm and 12:05am!

But that’s just at one park – if you head over to Disney California Adventure, there are even more ways to enjoy the New Year’s Eve celebration! Continue reading

Disney Parks Holiday Specials Filming 2017

Believe it or not, celebrities love to visit the Disney Parks just as much as the rest of us. While I rarely tend to notice them blending in amongst the crowds, I was fortunate enough this past week to spot one of my favorite TV actors there enjoying a Mickey Mouse-filled day!

I’m not posting pics, nor sharing specifics, as they were there on their own private time. But it was a thrill to see someone I’m a huge fan of being a Disney fan, too!

But sometimes in the parks when I see celebrities, it’s because they’re there to perform something for Disney itself.

For example, this year’s celebrity narrator at Disneyland Park for the Candlelight Processional was the God of Thunder, Thor himself – Chris Hemsworth! This caused immense excitement, but was also a dilemma for me. I happened to be in the park at the time the second show was starting on one of those nights and I love seeing Candlelight and the talented singers and musicians who perform in it, but I was actually trying to leave the park at that time to go over to a Marvel meet at Disney California Adventure! So, clarifying my priorities, I decided to forego the Candlelight crowds and head for the meet instead. It took half an hour in a packed, barely-moving mass of people (very claustrophobic) to actually exit the park that night due to the Candlelight constraints – ugh! But I finally got out of Disneyland Park and headed over to Disney California Adventure to have a wonderful Meet & Greet with Loki that night (Thor, being otherwise occupied, was not there). So yes, I guess I’m really a character fan now as well as an entertainment cast fan since I’d rather go to a character Meet & Greet than see an actor in person!

Another example of seeing performers at the parks in an official capacity was in mid-November when I happened to be at the Disneyland Resort on a day when the ABC Christmas specials were filming!

This year, ABC aired “The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration” on November 30th and will also present “Disney Parks Magical Christmas Celebration” on Christmas Day.

As I wandered through Disneyland Park that day, I saw the stage where Jason Derulo would later be performing (though I did not wait in the crowd to watch the performance):

The stage in front of the castle at Disneyland Park for the holiday special filming.

I also noticed cameras and lights set up by the tree in Town Square:

Lights, camera…

It’s always fun to see a production in process, but I think the highlight for me that day was something very classically Disney… I saw some of the newest Mouseketeers! 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

Other Disneyland Resort Halloween Time Updates 2017

All Hallow’s Eve greetings from the Carthay Circle restaurant!

Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken a look at some newer entertainment (The SCAREolers) and characters in costumes found during this Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort. For today though, I’d just like to wander through the resort and point out some other highlights that I’ve enjoyed this season…

Disneyland Park

At Disneyland Park this month, I’ve been happy to see some of the Halloween standards such as the Dapper Dans singing Halloween sets:

And taking time to visit my favorite Halloween décor in the park – the Halloween Tree lit in honor of Ray Bradbury’s classic tale:

The Halloween Tree!

But as I’ve noted before, it was at Disney California Adventure that everything new was happening! Continue reading