Character Spotlight: Doctor Strange’s Arrival and Captain America’s New Suit

Yesterday was an exciting day for Marvel fans at Disney California Adventure as the promised newest Avengers super hero finally arrived!

Sorcerer Supreme!

Doctor Strange has come to visit the park and Meet & Greet guests. He is a roaming character, like Loki currently is as well, and can be found wandering the streets and Backlot of Hollywood Land!

Here are some pictures of his first day out adventuring and conjuring:

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A Different Kind of Entertainment – A Mad Tea Party with Alice & The Mad Hatter

What better way to celebrate a royal wedding today than with a tea party? A MAD Tea Party, that is!

Unlike Musical Chairs with Alice & The Mad Hatter at Disneyland Park, which is not listed on the daily Entertainment Times Guide nor on the Disneyland app, but still happens fairly regularly in the afternoons at Coke Corner, it is a bit less often that you can find Alice and the Mad Hatter hosting a Mad Tea Party for guests.

I’ve seen this spontaneously happen anywhere from Fantasyland to Coke Corner on Main Street, U.S.A. at the whim of the Hatter – it is HIS tea party after all! Although Alice does insist on crashing it!

There’s always time for tea!

Generally it involves the Mad Hatter inviting a few lucky guests to join him and Alice at a table. He provides the tea cups and teapot – and the guests get to have the fun! Continue reading

Character Spotlight: Disneyland Park Star Wars Update May 2018

While the Pixar Fest may be getting all the advertising for the Disneyland Resort right now, as I’ve noted over the past few weeks, Marvel has been getting a lot of love at Disney California Adventure, too, thanks to the blockbuster release of Avengers: Infinity War.

But that’s not all that’s going on!

We are still a year or so away from the opening of Galaxy’s Edge (or as it’s more commonly referred to – Star Wars Land!) at Disneyland Park.  But in the meantime, Tomorrowland keeps giving us plenty of options – both new and returning – to enjoy!

Although Solo: A Star Wars Story won’t open in theaters until May 25th, as of Star Wars Day last week (May the 4th be with you!), several new offerings were added to Tomorrowland and I highly recommend using lightspeed to head over there and check them out!

First, Rey has joined the “Light Side” Meet & Greet next door to Chewbacca at the Launch Bay:

And instead of one pair of Stormtroopers roaming the area and “arresting” guests (if you’re lucky!), there are now two pair wandering about. PLUS keeping an eye on them and everyone else is Captain Phasma!

Roaming Captain Phasma is magnificent!

She was amazing and intimidating and you really have to hope she’ll pick you for a photo opportunity as it’s not guaranteed and completely up to her!

And the reason we have so many First Order Stormtroopers and their Captain out is because Anaheim has replicated the March of the First Order from Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando! Continue reading

Why Loki is the Perfect Roaming Character

“I’m the biggest troublemaker around here.” – Loki
“Sorry, but I’ll claim that title!” – Star-Lord
Okay, not really what they said, but I’m sure it was what they were thinking!

I acknowledge that until quite recently, with rare (Wonderland) exception, I simply was not a big character Meet & Greet fan at the Disney Parks. Maybe it was the character selection; maybe it was my own shyness. But when it finally clicked as to how much fun these interactions could be, as is usual for me when I find something I like, I threw myself into it wholeheartedly! So lately, a lot of my park days have been spent visiting characters. (Yes, mostly, but not all, Marvel characters.)

At first, when looking to interact with characters, I found the scheduled Meet & Greets at specific times and locations (found either on the Disneyland app or by asking the Cast Members at the respective character spots) to be my definite preference. I would know where I could go and when in order to talk to or get a picture with a particular character. I was less enamored of characters roaming – how was I supposed to find them if they could be anywhere in a land (i.e. Fantasyland or New Orleans Square in Disneyland Park or Hollywood Land in Disney California Adventure) during a given period of time – IF you happened to hear they were out at all!

As someone who likes to plan, the spontaneity and randomness of roaming characters was more frustrating than anything else.

And then, once more, there was Loki…

And my perspective changed again. 

Over the past week or so, I’ve visited Disney California Adventure quite a few times because I was just so happy to have so many Marvel characters out and about. I was a bit peeved, however, that while Thor returned to a set Meet & Greet location, my favorite, Loki, was exiled (as I saw it) to being a roaming character, so it would be luck of the draw to encounter him and try to get a photo op with him.

But over a few days of being lucky enough to find him (fortunately Hollywood Land is not that big a place to wander!), I discovered exactly why he’s the perfect choice to be a roaming character out of any of the Marvel crew – even if he does attract quite a large crowd wherever he goes! Continue reading

Character Spotlight: Disney California Avengers

Proving my park madness, yesterday I went to Disney California Adventure instead of rushing to the movie theater to see Avengers: Infinity War on opening day. (I did go to see the movie first thing this morning, however!) And my reason for doing this? SO. MANY. AVENGERS. CHARACTERS. I can’t even. I literally spent the entire day in the park going from character to character to character. It was THE BEST!

The park has really gone all out with their Marvel character meets, and most of these should hopefully be sticking around for a while. I’m going to just let the pictures do the talking other than to discuss where you can find them all…

The only order of characters here was that in which I happened to go visit them. But all (except one, noted below), have their hours – though not exact set times – listed in the Disneyland app. For specific set times, ask the cast members at the respective meet areas.

I started off with a visit to see Captain America, who not only has a new designated Meet & Greet area just across from his former location in Hollywood Land with Spider-Man, but he is now the one to get the fanfare entrance with the Avengers truck!

Cap exiting the Avengers truck.

Cap at his new Meet & Greet location

Next up, I ran right into a character who is now roaming in Hollywood Land: the God of Mischief himself – Loki!

Loki is always a troublemaker – but that’s just part of his charm!

Note: this is the one character who is not on the daily schedule nor the app. So the only way to find him is luck! I saw him roaming the Backlot around late morning and mid-afternoon, so that’s my best guidance for you. Continue reading

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

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