One Hour at D23 Expo 2017 – Part One: Costume Displays

I hadn’t actually planned on going to the D23 Expo this year. I’d been priced out of being able to afford tickets, so I’d made alternate plans for last weekend including going to see a band gig at a concert in the park one night and seeing other favorite performers throughout the day and evening at the Disneyland Resort. But then thanks to a friend, I wound up unexpectedly getting a ticket for Sunday. I knew I needed to head over to the park that day around 12-ish, but I figured I might be able to squeeze in an hour or so on the Expo show floor, so I said yes, please, and thank you!

I knew from previous years that the earlier you arrived in the morning, the longer the wait to get in as it takes a while for the crowd and security to start flowing once the doors open. So I got there when I could and it took me “only” about an hour and a half wait in the line to get inside the convention center (as opposed to the two to three hour wait other friends reported who arrived earlier than I had).

The line outside the convention center. I know it just looks like a crowd, but it was a constantly twisting and turning line!

Once inside, sure enough, I was going to have just one hour to see whatever I could see before I had to leave. So this meant I couldn’t stand in line to get inside two of the most popular areas – neither the Parks & Resorts Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area:

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge display area. This contained models and props from the new Star Wars lands at Disneyland Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Nor the Walt Disney Archives’ Pirates display:

The Walt Disney Archives “Pirates Life For Me” showcase.

Instead, I had to wander the Expo floor and see what I could see! Fortunately this included a couple of great costume displays, which I will share with you today. Next week, I’ll share some pictures of other things I spotted while I was there!

First I walked right into some live action Disney princess and villains costumes. Continue reading

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Happy Father’s Day to Disney Dads Everywhere!

The Disney Parks are filled with Disney Dads – from those pushing the strollers to those up on the stage.

To celebrate Father’s Day, I thought I’d point out a couple of places you can spot some Disney Dads at the Disneyland Resort!

I think it would be incredible to start with Disney California Adventure – where you can spot super dad Mr. Incredible along with the rest of his family in the Pixar Play Parade!

You’re incredible!

There are two different places in Paradise Pier where you may notice images of Princess Ariel’s father – at his namesake King Triton’s Carousel or inside the The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure attraction. And if and when Paint the Night returns, you can see Triton at the head of The Little Mermaid float in that parade as well!

Heading over to the Hyperion Theater, Elsa and Anna’s father appears in Frozen – Live at the Hyperion.

Elsa and her father in Frozen – Live at the Hyperion.

And at Turtle Talk with Crush in the Animation Academy, you can visit with the awesome sea turtle Crush and his son Squirt along with fellow father and son duo, Marlin and Nemo. Some of these Finding Nemo characters can also be found at the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage attraction in Tomorrowland at Disneyland Park. Continue reading

Beauty and the Beast Limited Time Offerings at the Disneyland Resort

Stained glass decoration at the Red Rose Taverne.

As I mentioned last month, I was very much looking forward to checking out some of the new Beauty and the Beast promotions happening at the Disneyland Resort starting this month. Now that I’ve had time to visit some of them (and a few more than once!), I thought I’d share some details on what you may find there!

Enchanted Rose at the Red Rose Taverne – it glows!

Definitely my favorite temporary addition – one that I wish would become permanent – is the overlay of the Village Haus counter service restaurant into the Beauty and the Beast-themed Red Rose Taverne. Not only is the theming overlay wonderful – as the original Pinocchio-themed decorations and artwork have been covered up or replaced by tributes to Belle, Beast and Gaston – but the food is a massive improvement as well!

I have now eaten there three times and despite my wanting to try multiple options there (the beef poutine and the grey stuff cupcake are still of interest!), I keep returning for the wonderful Beast’s Burger with pommes frites! Continue reading

Show Spotlight: Main Street Electrical Parade Returns to Disneyland Park

The Main Street Electrical Parade returns home to Disneyland Park for a limited time!

The Main Street Electrical Parade returns home to Disneyland Park for a limited time!

What is the Main Street Electrical Parade?

Goofy rides the train!

Goofy rides the train!

This endearing, enduring parade has once again crossed the country back from the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort where it ran as their nightly Disney’s Electrical Parade for the past several years.

Once again home at Disneyland Park for a limited time before it “glows away forever” (for real this time… we think), this spectacle of color, lights and music was the inspiration and precursor to the (hopefully returning later this year) Paint the Night parade.

The performance features massive floats themed variously to classic Disney animated movies including Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella and Pete’s Dragon, along with brightly lit individual characters all moving to the familiar strains of the “Baroque Hoedown”.

Each main massive float features matching characters (Alice atop a mushroom, Cinderella in her pumpkin coach, Pete atop Elliott the dragon, etc.) and many are also accompanied by smaller themed floats as well.

Tinker Bell in the Peter Pan segment of the parade.

Tinker Bell in the Peter Pan segment of the parade.

Who are the performers? Continue reading

The Princess and The Super Hero – Limited Time Events at the Disneyland Resort in 2017

The Princess and the Super Hero are coming soon – no, I’m not talking about runDisney marathons!

I’d actually originally planned to write something Valentine-themed this week, however, such major news was released over the past few days for the Disneyland Resort that I had to switch gears and address it all!

The resort announced two major themed initiatives for spring and summer 2017 – one at Disneyland Park and one at Disney California Adventure.

First, let’s look at what’s coming to Disneyland Park very soon!

While no specific dates were announced for these opportunities, with the new live action Beauty and the Beast movie coming out in March, I think it’s safe to say most of these will be happening any day now!

First, the Village Haus counter service restaurant in Fantasyland will be getting a Beauty and the Beast French-inspired eatery overlay to temporarily transform into the Red Rose Taverne! I can’t wait to sample some of the new food offerings – including hopefully a West Coast version of “The Grey Stuff” cupcake! While this location won’t quite match Walt Disney World’s Be Our Guest restaurant, it will be something with presumably a few less antlers than Gaston’s Tavern at the Magic Kingdom. Then again… given the word that they will be theming the venue into different rooms, perhaps one may carry Gaston’s decorating touches after all!

This is good because… Gaston will return to the area as a roaming character! Most recently brought in to occasionally wander Fantasyland last year, he was still a pretty rare character to find. He never stopped to have a line for photos, you just had to be lucky and timely to ask for a quick pic as he walked around. Although if you flattered his ego, he might pause to pose for you!

Gaston strikes a pose in Fantasyland!

Gaston strikes a pose in Fantasyland!

I still prefer his dedicated Meet & Greet at the Magic Kingdom in Florida, but I’m happy to see Gaston wherever he is! Continue reading

Show Spotlight: Beauty and the Beast at The Royal Theatre

“Don’t I deserve the best?”

Awwww!

Awwww!

What is Beauty and the Beast at The Royal Theatre?

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Like all shows at the Royal Theatre, this is an abbreviated small-scale live retelling of a popular Disney princess film.  In the style of a Renaissance Faire or vaudeville show, there is a mix of comedy and music to help re-tell this “tale as old as time” using props and costumes to represent the different characters.  The humor is aimed to appeal to both children and adults so everyone gets to laugh at something.  It runs approximately 20 minutes.

Here you will experience the highlights (the ballroom dance!) and the lowlights (Gaston’s attack on the Beast) from the movie told in a new and somewhat accurate way… Ahem, can anyone say pie fight?

Who are the performers?

Mr. Smythe, Belle, Gaston aka Mr. Jones, Faire Maiden

Mr. Smythe, Belle, Gaston aka Mr. Jones, Faire Maiden

Why Mr. Smythe and Mr. Jones, of course! This talented duo – with the help of the Faire Maidens and Princess Belle herself – help recreate the story of how this beauty met and fell in love with her beast.

They are accompanied by Sir Samuel of Morocco on the piano, and the audience also gets the chance to sing along to the beloved ballad, “Beauty and the Beast”.

When and where can I find it? Continue reading

The Animation Courtyard – A Magical Retreat at Disney California Adventure

Inside the Animation Courtyard.

Inside the Animation Courtyard.

There is a hidden gem inside the Disney Animation Building in Disney California Adventure’s Hollywood Land: the Animation Courtyard.

This is not only a central location to lead you to other attractions such as the Animation Academy (to be spotlighted tomorrow!) and Turtle Talk with Crush, along with the Meet & Greet area for Anna and Elsa. But it is a destination unto itself – a wonderful respite from the hustle and bustle of the parks.

It functions both as a place to get out of the rain or sun and just rest for a bit, as well as a wonderful showcase for Disney and PIXAR animation and musical history.

I love going in here and just sitting (either on one of the couches here or even on the floor) and watching and listening – whether for a few moments or the full half-hour-ish loop of songs, animation and drawings projected in 360 degrees all around you!

So many films are represented here – from classics like Peter Pan and Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty artwork.

Sleeping Beauty artwork.

Through the renaissance of Disney animation like Aladdin and The Lion King

The Lion King animation.

The Lion King animation.

To modern showstoppers like Frozen. I’ve yet to see “Let it Go” play here in the Courtyard without many guests breaking out into the chorus along with Elsa! Continue reading