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

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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 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

My Disney Do List #9: Riding in the Wheelhouse of the Mark Twain Riverboat

Last weekend I got to check off an item on my Disney Do List… mostly… and I wanted to share the experience!

The recent return of all the attractions around the Rivers of America at Disneyland Park has not only added a welcome energy back to the area, but it allowed me to do something I’d always wanted to do: ride in the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain riverboat!

A view from the top – New Orleans Square.

Now, I’d always heard this was such a popular request that one usually had to make it over there early in the day to have a chance of getting one of these coveted rides. However, a friend and I were there on a not-terribly crowded day and were lucky enough to be selected by the Cast Member piloting the boat for that particular turn around the river simply by being up front by the gate and being quick to respond when he asked if we (or the party next to us) had ever been up top before. I jumped at the opportunity I believed we were being presented – as did the couple standing next to us – and we were told that as soon as the gates were opened, we were to follow the Cast Member up the stairs to the top, which we excitedly did!

My friend didn’t know what to expect, but I was thrilled at the prospect of this rare visit to the top of the boat!

We climbed upstairs into a small anteroom and then into the wheelhouse itself. This small area fits a maximum of four guests along with the Cast Member.

Looking out at the view behind us of the dock and Big Thunder Mountain.

From there, we had not only an amazing view of the river and the park itself in all directions around us, but we got to watch the Cast Member in action, communicating with those who helped run the attraction as well as watching him work the boat’s bell and whistle. Continue reading

Character Spotlight: Disneyland Resort Update August 2017

Once again I’ve been noticing some different characters out and about around the Disneyland Resort, so I thought I’d share a few pictures!

At Disneyland Park, Fantasyland of late has proven to be a wonderland of characters, literally – none of whom are listed on the daily Entertainment Times Guide nor the Disneyland app. It’s just a matter of being lucky enough to stumble upon them at the right time!

I’d heard repeated rumors – yet constantly missed – seeing multiple Alice in Wonderland characters roaming the area near the Mad Tea Party attraction lately until I FINALLY achieved a major character goal which was to meet the Tweedles!

TWEEDLES!!!

Yes! Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee have been repeatedly out interacting with guests. They don’t always stop for photos, so you may have to catch them on the move, but when I recently saw them, they were not only posing for pictures but they stopped in the middle of the walkway by the attraction and had a “dance-off” with guests! It was fantastic to see the characters playing with the guests this way!

Tweedles at play with guests!

Having had a fair amount of playtime over the years with always fun Chip ‘n Dale, there is absolutely a difference between characters who appear together rather than characters who appear more often individually. There’s just an extra level of mischief and cooperation with two characters rather than one. And getting to see both Tweedles cavorting in the park completely made my day!

But they were not the only ones in the area at that time. I also saw the Queen of Hearts: Continue reading

One Hour at D23 Expo 2017 – Part Two: Everything Else on the Expo Floor

Last week I explained that I unexpectedly wound up being able to spend one hour of one day visiting the D23 Expo 2017. While there I saw several terrific costume displays, but I also saw other wonderful random things at various booths. So today I’m going to share with you some of the other sights from my brief exploration of the Expo floor that day.

For example – a picture of Dory and Nemo created entirely out of Jelly Bellys at the candymakers’ booth!

This picture of Dory and Nemo made from Jelly Bellys was still a work in progress when I visited their booth!

I also watched folks interact with this 10 foot tall Spider-Man at the Sphero booth!

There was some beautiful artwork to be found at the Walt Disney Family Museum booth as they promoted their current exhibit featuring the tremendously talented Disney artist Eyvind Earle. Continue reading