The Changing Face of Downtown Disney – Part Three (and DCA Food & Wine 2018 Update)

I’ve previously addressed the many changes that have been and are continuing to happen in Downtown Disney in Anaheim. This week, Disney announced the closing dates for the businesses on the west side that will be impacted by the upcoming construction project for the new hotel.

As of June 30, 2018 (although perhaps earlier than that in some cases), the following will be permanently closing:

  • AMC Theatres
  • Earl of Sandwich
  • ESPN Zone
  • Rainforest Cafe
  • Starbucks Coffee (west side location only – the main location next to World of Disney will remain open)

The main stage by ESPN Zone is expected to be removed by then as well, but for a little while longer, music fans can continue to enjoy seeing various bands performing there.

A few dates of note for that Downtown Disney stage will include appearances by:

Tuesday, April 17 – Phat Cat Swinger

Wednesday, April 18 – Faultlines

Friday, May 4 – Grilled Cheese Soundwich

Saturday, May 5 – Hiatus

Friday, May 11 – The Suffragettes

Tuesday, May 15 – Phat Cat Swinger

Saturday, May 19 – The 80z All-Stars

Saturday, May 26 – TOMASINA

Wednesday, May 30 – Faultlines

Shows here generally begin at 6pm though everything on the schedule is always subject to change!

Groups will hopefully continue to perform in front of the WonderGround Gallery as well, even after the main stage goes away for the construction project. But with the recent opening of Splitsville, there is a new outdoor stage that is also hosting musical acts:

Stage at Splitsville’s outdoor bar.

Unfortunately, it is located directly across from the WonderGround performance area and the two sets of performers are frequently in audio competition while singing at the same time. This is a very unfortunate placement that I wish had been considered prior to the opening of Splitsville.

I don’t know how one spot can sustain two simultaneous musical acts and I fear that we could lose the WonderGround area as performance space eventually. Between that and the loss of the main stage by the ESPN Zone, Downtown Disney could be taking a serious downturn in live musical entertainment and I hope a new performing location can be established to replace at least one of these venues. Continue reading

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Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival 2018 – Entertainment

Next weekend the 2018 edition of the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival will begin. It will run from March 2nd through April 12th. And as with previous iterations, it’s neither the food nor drink that I’m excited to sample – it’s the entertainment!

This year, different bands will be performing daily and I’m particularly happy that two of my favorite groups have regularly scheduled performing days throughout the Festival run.

First up is the rockin’ Grilled Cheese Soundwich! They will be performing on Mondays and Wednesdays and should have five 30-minute sets that would run between 12:30pm-6:45pm. For exact times, there may be Festival printouts available starting next weekend or the information may be posted by the stage. I’m guessing they will be on the main stage in front of Paradise Bay, but they could also wind up at the Paradise Garden Bandstand. When I find out more, I’ll update this post!

UPDATE 3/2/18: Yes, it looks like they are set for the main stage (UPDATE: 3/15/18: set times at 12:30pm, 1:45pm, 3:15pm, 5:00pm, and 6:15pm):

IMG_1174 cr wm

Their scheduled dates (as always subject to change) are:

Mondays:

  • March 5, 12, 19, 26
  • April 2, 9

Wednesdays:

  • March 7, 14, 21, 28
  • April 4

Second is the swingin’ Phat Cat Swinger! They will be performing on the main stage in front of Paradise Bay on most Fridays and Sundays and should have three 30-minute sets that would start at: 10:45am, 11:35am, and 12:50pm.

UPDATE 3/15/18: They also have a set at 1:45pm!

Their scheduled dates (as always subject to change) are: Continue reading

Show Spotlight Flashback: Disney California Adventure Festival of Holidays 2017 – Holiday Sunset Concerts – Phat Cat Swinger

Swing it!

What was the Disney California Adventure Festival of Holidays 2017 – Holiday Sunset Concerts – Phat Cat Swinger?

Phat Cat Swinger

This past holiday season at Disney California Adventure, to happily add a live music component to the festivities, there were nightly concerts held right after the sun set to give maximum effect to the bright colorful lights in the background. Depending on which night you would go, you might see different bands there, but one of the main ones was Phat Cat Swinger!

They’re a big band group that would sing and swing a range of music that fit the season, their big band theme and the Disney location.  They’d even throw in an occasional original song, too!

Great to listen to, they were even more fun to watch with their choreographed movements adding to the show quality.

Who were the performers?

The Phat Cat Swinger band is comprised of a lead singer (with the shiniest suits!) and multiple musicians playing everything from brass to drums. But once in a while, even the sax player gets to sing a song!

When and where could I find it? 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

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

Downtown Disney Mousertainment – The SCAREolers

I don’t know how it happened, but I apparently missed this group when they were performing in Downtown Disney in Anaheim last year at Halloween Time. I probably was busy running back and forth between the Dapper Dans of Disneyland and the Cadaver Dans at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. Sadly, this year, the Cadaver Dans are not singing publicly, only at Mickey’s Halloween Party itself. That left a Halloween-sized hole in my entertainment-loving heart that needed to be filled, so I went to check out The SCAREolers who are performing in front of the WonderGround Gallery this season.

The SCAREolers!

I spent a full evening earlier in the week watching The SCAREolers. Their performances are half an hour long and they have two different set lists they perform over the course of four shows throughout the night (so: set A, set B, set A, set B). I found the group’s times listed on the daily events schedule on the Disneyland website, so I’d recommend checking there first.

Their backstory is that they are a few of the 999 happy haunts from The Haunted Mansion who have been let out for the evening to entertain the guests.

What I loved: First off, the costumes and the choreography were terrific. And out of all of their songs, I especially thought the Disney villains mash-ups were spectacular! For me those were the absolute highlights of each set. I also really enjoyed the Hercules retrospective (that surprisingly didn’t include the gorgeous “Go the Distance” which I think this group could knock out of the park… so to speak) – as well as their fun performance of the Hocus Pocus songs.

What I liked: the acapella sound and arrangements. The modernized, hip-hop version of the “Monster Mash” was particularly fun. I’m always up for a “Dead Man’s Party” and of course “Thriller” (complete with zombie dancing!) is a definite requirement for the season. Continue reading

Where the Bands Are… and the DJs Too! April-May 2017

Yes, I’m late for a very important date! And I suppose I can’t blame the White Rabbit for this one…

The problem is, there is very little in the way of a set schedule that I know of for the time being so I’ve been waiting until I heard more to post. But since no further info seems to be coming this way at the moment, I’ll just drop these few tidbits here for today for those who need a Downtown Disney music fix at the Disneyland Resort!

While I’m a big supporter of all live music and entertainment at the Disney Parks & Resorts, I’ll admit to having favorite groups. So since very few of those have been scheduled here for the past few weeks, I haven’t been going to this location as much.

However, there are two upcoming Rockin’ Wednesdays I hope to get to because one of my favorite bands – The 80z All-Stars – are scheduled to perform those evenings from 6-10pm on the main Downtown Disney stage by the ESPN Zone:

Wednesday, April 26 – The 80z All-Stars

Wednesday, May 10 – The 80z All-Stars

And while there haven’t been others of my favorite live bands there lately whom I’ve wanted to see, there is another option for Downtown Disney entertainment worth mentioning:

Thursday night Dueling DJs!

Yes – this fun experience pits two DJs against each other to battle it out to see who can play the tunes that get the most people in the crowd dancing! Especially fun to see at the turntables are some familiar faces whom the eagle-eyed may recognize from The Mad T Party! (Speaking of following the White Rabbit…)

While these DJ battles have been scheduled regularly for the past few months at that same main stage as the bands in Downtown Disney, there is a particularly fun event happening there this coming Thursday, April 27th: Continue reading