Downtown Disney and Resort Hotels Mousertainment – Christmas Carolers at the Disneyland Resort 2017

The Beverly Belles singing holiday songs at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

If you’re feeling the need for Christmas cheer this season at the Disneyland Resort… umm… it’s everywhere!

But if you’re specifically yearning to hear some Christmas carolers, then Downtown Disney and the Disneyland resort hotels are the places to go!

First off, if you’re in Downtown Disney, you may want to check out Holiday Harmony – a contemporary a capella caroling group performing in front of the WonderGround Gallery.

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Holiday Harmony!

Their schedule for the season (always subject to change as with all things Disney) is as follows:

Four half hour sets begin at 5pm, 6pm, 7pm and 8pm (or 7:30pm and 8:30pm – the band’s schedule notes different times than the park does! I’ll see if I can confirm which is correct on my next park run) on the following dates:

  • Friday-Sunday – December 1-3
  • Thursday-Sunday – December 7-10
  • Thursday-Sunday – December 14-17
  • Monday-Monday – December 18-25

Update 12/5/17: I checked and 7:30pm and 8:30pm are the correct set times for this group.

But it you want to step inside the resort hotels – and step back in time a bit – you can enjoy other caroling groups, too! Continue reading

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The Changing Face of Downtown Disney – Part Two

A few weeks ago, I wrote about some of the changes coming to Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort. At the time, these involved some stores closing to make way for new opportunities like the Star Wars VR experience expected to open in the coming months, as well as the planned opening of Splitsville restaurant and bowling alley.

While these were anticipated additions to the entertainment options in Downtown Disney (as Splitsville was announced as a venue for live performing acts as well), a major announcement from Disney this past week about Resort expansion will be changing the future of this area and removing other entertainment locations permanently.

The Walt Disney Company has revealed that a new luxury hotel will be built on the current west end of Downtown Disney just past the monorail station and in front of the Disneyland Hotel. Construction will begin by next spring. As a result, everything in between will be removed, including the AMC Theater, The ESPN Zone, The Rainforest Café and the Earl of Sandwich restaurants. It potentially also would lead to the closure of the Disney Vacation Club storefront along with the second Downtown Disney Starbucks location. It is, however, unclear if the current location of the Disney Pin Traders store just past the monorail stop will remain.

While much outrage was aimed at the potential loss of the wonderful Earl of Sandwich quick service location (count me in as one more voice desperately hoping they will be relocated elsewhere on property! The Earl serves great food at a great price point and would be sorely missed!), I want to focus for today on the impending removal of four entertainment locations. 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

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

40 Things I Love About Star Wars

In honor of the major milestone on May 25, 2017 of the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope, I decided this week to run down a list of 40 things I love about the Star Wars franchise.

Note: these are in a random order pretty much off the top of my head as they occurred to me aside from the final number one choice!

 

  1. Kylo Ren’s temper tantrums – EPIC, but duck!

 

  1. Darth Maul – such a bold colorful character created randomly in the middle of the prequel chaos. He was the Boba Fett of the prequel trilogy and I still wish we had seen him more in films.

 

  1. Poe Dameron / Cassian Andor – I would like to take this time to personally thank the casting directors for giving us Oscar Isaac and Diego Luna. That is all.

 

  1. General Leia – for all the girls who grew up wanting to be Princess Leia… and then became the women who want to grow up to be General Leia, Carrie Fisher is owed a great debt of gratitude.

 

  1. Getting to see actors from the prequel series and the original series in the sequel series and standalones. Yay for continuity!

 

  1. Wicket. Yes, the space teddy bears were probably not the best idea in retrospect. But still… cuddly Wicket.

 

  1. Getting to make your own custom Star Wars action figure with your own face on it at various Disney Star Wars events via D-Tech Me. Everything. REALLY hoping this comes to the new Star Wars Lands as a regular offering.

 

  1. And along with that – the “Build Your Own” stops at both Disneyland Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios where you can build your own light saber, droid (ala R2-D2) and newly introduced protocol droids (ala C-3PO).

 

  1. The dearly missed Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. No, I never went to one, but I always enjoyed reading about them and would have loved to attend even once.

 

  1. Hugging Chewbacca at the Launch Bay at either Disneyland Park or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you have not been hugged by a Wookiee, your life is incomplete. Sorry.  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