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

Mousertainment Movies: Top 10 Favorite Disney Animated Films

I’ve been looking forward to doing this feature – and tomorrow’s, too!

So obviously everyone’s “top 10 favorites” list will look a bit different from anyone else’s and it’s all subjective, of course. And while my top 25 Disney animated features list was pretty easy to whittle down, narrowing it to just 10 was more difficult. Still, I had a general feeling for what most of this list would consist of, though I wasn’t totally sure in which order they would fall. And I could continue to wiggle a few of these around into different rankings, but the top few are definitely my biggest favorites even if they were switched around in order a bit.

Before I get into my list, however, I’d like to stress that this is my grouping of *favorites* – which would absolutely fall into a different order and even different films than a 10 *best* list – which I may do another time.

And one more thing I’d like to acknowledge: while I grew up with and love all of the classic Disney animated films, none of them – even my beloved Alice in Wonderland – actually made it onto this list! The reason for this is that I made my selections based on the films that I watch most often, in many cases due to my love of their soundtracks, but also the themes addressed in them.

Now, without further ado – my top 10 favorites!

10) The Little Mermaid

  • The glory of the soundtrack featuring the brilliance of Howard Ashman, combined with some of the most colorful and gorgeous hand drawn animation ever makes for one of the greatest Disney films ever. Perfect songs, perfect princess, perfect villain, perfect sidekicks. This is the textbook on how to do it right and it’s no surprise this was the film that jump-started a new golden age of Disney animation.

9) Beauty and the Beast

  • Next year, audiences will fall in love all over again with this “tale as old as time” with its new live-action incarnation. But in the meantime, I strongly recommend you revisit this touching story of a girl who sees beneath the surface of a beast to the potential prince within. The ballroom scene alone is worth watching the entire film for, but the absolutely exquisite voice casting of Angela Lansbury, David Ogden Stiers and Jerry Orbach show just how critical the sidekick characters can be – especially in the showstopping number, “Be Our Guest”!

8) The Lion King

  • Yes, it’s a whole lot of Hamlet. And that’s just fine with this Shakespeare fan! While Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent may generally be the most popular villain in the Disney canon, to me, Scar is the absolute tops! From his purring, seductive tones to his sheer murderous actions, his evil is devastating as it is so very human. While theoretically, this is Simba’s story, I’m wild about all the rest of the characters from the fussy Zazu and wise Rafiki to the hilarious henchmen hyenas to the beloved sidekicks Timon & Pumbaa. Not to mention Simba’s parents, the noble Mufasa and loving Sarabi, and of course, Simba’s spunky romantic interest, Nala. Again, it is all tied together by an amazing soundtrack. The resulting film is timeless and amazing.

7) The Emperor’s New Groove

  • Wait, what? So few people seem to even remember this one exists, but between the absolute brilliance of David Spade’s Kuzco and John Goodman’s Pacha along with the sheer magic of Eartha Kitt’s Yzma and Patrick Warburton’s Kronk, the humor and charm of this film never fails to make me laugh out loud. From the first time I saw it, I dubbed it “a Warner Brothers cartoon as made by Disney”. Please do yourselves a favor and watch this underappreciated gem of a film!  Otherwise, Yzma may turn you into a flea, a harmless, little flea…

6) Hercules

  • And speaking of humor… this film absolutely belongs to James Woods’ makes-me-laugh-till-I-cry Hades. With some extra credit to his scheming henchmen Pain & Panic. But then there’s Meg – who breaks and steals my heart every time I watch this film. One of the most imperfect, yet relatable, Disney heroines ever, it is Meg who, as the audience surrogate, makes us appreciate “Wonder Boy” Hercules. And then there is the ultimate inspirational song, “Go the Distance” that makes you believe that anything is possible. Another overlooked film that’s worth your time. Continue reading