Character Spotlight: Disney California Adventure Halloween Time Update October 2017

Last week we took a look at some of the fun character shenanigans going on for Halloween Time at Disneyland Park. This week it’s time to turn our attention to Disney California Adventure!

The Disneyland Resort has gone all out this year to make Disney California Adventure the new destination for park fans for Halloween Time. And nowhere is this more evident than in Cars Land, where all of the Cars characters have been given new Halloween costumes to wear!

From a Vampire Tow Mater to a Super Hero Lightning McQueen:

Everyone is dressed up for the festivities. And I mean everyone!

Check out Red the Fire Truck dressed as a cute clown:

And the town’s newest visitor, Cruz Ramirez, looks like she would be right at home with the Pirates of New Orleans Square!

Ahoy there, Cruz!

But I was most charmed by the new costumes worn by the Fab Five characters on Buena Vista Street… Continue reading

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Character Spotlight: Disneyland Park Halloween Time Update October 2017

Since there is a lot to cover for character updates during the Halloween Time season at the Disneyland Resort, I’m going to separate this into multiple reports. Today’s will cover the characters you may encounter at Disneyland Park, while next week we’ll take a look at some of the fun costume changes that have appeared for characters at Disney California Adventure.

Meeting on Main Street in their familiar garb from the past few Halloween Time celebrations are the Fab Five of course.

Here’s Mickey! But don’t get spooked by his costume – he’s still the same lovable mouse as always!

Cruella De Vil is out in Town Square as usual, but lately I’ve spotted the Queen of Hearts there, too! Happily, I actually found her listed on the Disneyland app so I knew when to look for her!

Her Majesty, the Queen of Hearts!

In other locations, the popular Meet & Greet area for Jack & Sally (The Nightmare Before Christmas) in the Sky Room between the shops in New Orleans Square has reopened for the Halloween season. Be prepared for long lines for this duo! 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

Season’s Treatings – A September Epic Disney Food Fail

I was really excited to head into Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, not just for the decorations and other seasonal entertainment (to be discussed in a future post), but okay yes, for the seasonal – especially themed – food!

Unfortunately, in my two recent visits, I disappointingly experienced more epic misses than hits. But sometimes it’s just as important to know what to skip as what to get, so I’m sharing my opinions (personal and subjective as always) with you here today.

First off, did you know that some resort restaurants have offerings that change monthly? Sometimes even I find it hard to keep up with knowing everything that’s going on and I go there really regularly. But I just found out a few days ago that the monthly gourmet hot dog at Whitewater Snacks at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel was mini hot dog nachos and I just had to get over there to try them!

Now, I’ll preface this by saying: I have never tried a Disneyland corn dog. *Waits for the gasps to quiet.* Further blasphemy – I’ve never tried the jumbo turkey leg or a Dole Whip for that matter. Sorry, I’m a Citrus Swirl fan forever. One of these days I need to do a food crawl of just these classic items I’ve never tried though.

I think it’s because the full sized corn dogs are just intimidating looking and while I love a good hot dog, I’m not really a corn dog fan. But mini-corn dogs with select toppings? That I would try.

On the day I went over to Whitewater Snacks, it was about lunchtime and I was told by the Cast Member that it would be a 45-minute wait for this dish since it was so popular. And indeed, while I was ordering, they cut off all orders for it for the day. But I got mine in.

After waiting, my food was delivered to me. But unlike the mini-corn dog dish I’d seen pictures of and other people around me were enjoying, what I got was this:

What was supposed to be mini-corn dog nachos (aka mini-corn dog bites with toppings).

And while a corn dog fan might have found this plateful enticing, I couldn’t even look at it, it was so totally unappealing to me. Fail. I literally picked it right up and brought it back to the cashier. I pointed out that this was not the dish I’d ordered and waited for. The cashier (and my server) both apologized profusely and said they’d run out of the mini-corn dogs and had to try making this. Yeah, I wasn’t going to eat that – although honestly it was probably a great deal for what I’d paid for a smaller dish. I was quickly given a refund, however.

Problem is, I was really hungry as I’d waited so long for this dish! My friend split their lunch – a sandwich – with me, but I needed to find food fast. My friend had a craving for dessert after their meal, so we headed into Disney California Adventure as I wanted to try one of the Halloween Time desserts. Continue reading

Mousertainment Music: The Songs of the Disney Parks Attractions

Recently, the Disney world lost not only one of its longtime talented artists, but one of its most memorable park music contributors as well. X Atencio passed on September 10, 2017 at the age of 98. He was remarkable not only for being a Disney animator on works ranging from Fantasia to Mary Poppins, but for creating two of the most beloved Disney Parks attraction songs ever.

Sing along with me – “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!”

Or perhaps you prefer – “Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize!”

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X Atencio’s tribute window on Main Street U.S.A.

Yes, X was the man responsible for the classic songs we all love in both the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction as well as the Haunted Mansion. He also contributed lyrics for “Bear Band Serenade” in Country Bear Jamboree (still to this day a favorite show/attraction thanks to the humor and great songs, especially the one that tickles my funny bone the most: “All the Guys That Turn Me On Turn Me Down”).

While I have previously discussed some of the wonderful atmospheric music you will hear played throughout the Disney resorts, in X’s memory, I thought it might be nice to take a virtual stroll through the parks and commemorate some of the terrific, catchy music you will hear inside many of the most popular attractions.

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The Sherman Brothers’ tribute window on Main Street U.S.A.

Let’s start with the big ones: in my opinion, the only equally iconic attraction music contributions comparable to X’s creations were clearly those of the inimitable Sherman Brothers. Thanks to them we not only have the earworm of “It’s a Small World After All” playing at most Disney Parks worldwide, but also its just as easy to get stuck in your head “The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room” counterpart.  Happily Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom still celebrates that “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” shining at the end of every day at the Carousel of Progress. And for the moment at least, Figment still shares “One Little Spark” in Journey Into Imagination With Figment at EPCOT. Continue reading

The Changing Face of Downtown Disney

While not a complete cosmetic and thematic overhaul in the vein of Disney Springs in Orlando, in the coming weeks, Downtown Disney in Anaheim is going to be getting quite a makeover!

Half a dozen stores will be closing, while two new entertainment venues will be opening up.

And it’s all supposed to happen in time for the holidays!

Build-A-Bear Workshop, Chapel Hats and Ridemakerz will all be gone soon.

Originally all of the following stores were scheduled to close by September 24th:

Build-A-Bear Workshop

Chapel Hats

Ridemakerz

Vault 28

Fossil

Anna & Elsa’s Boutique

Build-A-Bear, you’ll be missed!

However, I’ve heard that Build-A-Bear may now stay open until or through the holidays. I’m glad as this terrific store features some unique location-specific Disney builds and accessories that are only available here. Personally, I wish this store could stay as I think it provides some great merchandise as souvenirs of a Disney visit, but that’s “progress” for ya! Continue reading

The Best Laid Plans of Mousertainment…

After nearly a year of planning – including early mornings up before dawn to arrange dining and FastPass+ reservations, this week I was all set to head off to Walt Disney World for a wonderful visit… and then Hurricane Irma happened.

Suffice it to say, my long-anticipated trip got canceled and yesterday instead of enjoying all my exciting options at Epcot, I found myself sitting at home staring at a yet-to-be-unpacked suitcase. So what’s a Disney fan to do except head off to the Disneyland Resort and try to do a West Coast version of the day I’d originally envisioned?

Dining

My food plans for the day were set to be all about Canada! I had intended to try out the cheddar cheese soup and pretzel roll at the Canada booth at the Food & Wine Festival and then have dinner at Le Cellier in the Canada pavilion.  So what did I do at the Disneyland Resort instead?

I stopped by the last weekend of the Summer of Heroes event at Disney California Adventure where I found one of the themed specialty donuts called the “Local Favorite”.

It’s Canadian-adjacent. Or related. Or something. Hey, there’s maple in it!

How did this pay homage to my Epcot dining plans? Umm, hello MAPLE-filled donut (with bacon on top – oh yes!)!!!

While I’ll have to give the edge to the apple-pie-filled donut I’d tried earlier in the season, this one was a winner, too. Although I didn’t actually find much filling inside, it still had the awesome taste as if someone had mixed a pancake with a donut. And the bacon bits on top gave just a touch of salt to balance out the sweet. Yum!

Entertainment

High on my priorities list for entertainment at Epcot was to see the glorious Voices of Liberty and listen to their soaring harmonies and classic music selections. Continue reading