Why I’m Just a Little Jealous of Other Disney Parks This Summer

Normally I think I could safely argue that when it comes to entertainment, the Disneyland Resort can hold its own – and often top – the offerings of any other Disney Parks & Resorts.

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The Pixarmonic Orchestra in their new Pixar Promenade home!

That said, this summer for Pixar Fest, they only introduced one new show – the Pixarmonic Orchestra, who as of today take up residence in their new bandshell location at Pixar Pier in Disney California Adventure. Otherwise, we just had a parade park swap – and in my personal opinion, the Pixar Play Parade seems a bit lost at Disneyland Park as I think it was a much better fit at Disney California Adventure, whereas Paint the Night finally has room to breathe and lots of great viewing locations at Disney California Adventure even more so than it did at Disneyland Park.  Overall I think it was a wash switching the two parades.

So I’m going to admit that I’m a wee bit jealous (or in one particular case – a whole lotta jealous) of some of the shows happening at other Disney Parks this summer and if I could travel to any of them, here’s where I would go and why:

EPCOT at Walt Disney World

Through August 19th, the America Gardens Theatre in the World Showcase is host to the show: Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live! featuring a visiting rock band from Xandar and guest appearances by Star-Lord and Gamora.

Performing live musical selections from the two Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix soundtracks, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about this show that plays several times daily! Check the My Disney Experience app for times but be aware this show can often be affected/shut down due to summer storms.

While I wouldn’t trade the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off! at Disney California Adventure for anything, I would be absolutely thrilled if when the Dance-Off ended for the evening, Star-Lord and Gamora could hop over to a stage in the Hollywood Backlot and rock out with a crowd that has been sorely missing a regular nighttime live rock band since the Diamond version of the Mad T Party ended two years ago. Continue reading

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Character Spotlight: Meet & Greet Marvel Characters at Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line

Asgardian brothers in arms.

After this week’s exciting announcement that new Marvel-themed lands, attractions and characters will be coming to Disney Parks world-wide in the next few years (specifically Disney California Adventure, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland), I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take a look at the past, present and potential future of Marvel Meet & Greets at Disney locations.

Normally, I’d be focused on just the U.S. parks, but since there’s a wonderful initiative aboard the Disney Cruise Line with various shows such as “Heroes Unite”, plus Meet & Greets and “Marvel Day at Sea” events, I’m going to touch on some of those options as well. And where I’m aware of international park Meets, I’ll mention those, too.

Note: the focus of this feature will be Marvel Cinematic Universe character Meet & Greets, rather than shows, but if characters are in shows that I’m aware of, I’ll try to mention that, too. However, I’m not including runDisney marathon appearances where various characters have been spotted in the past.

As always, everything is subject to change at the whim of Disney at any time, so the information is only current through the time of writing this article.  And the various park apps are generally the most up-to-date way of finding a character appearance you’re seeking on any given day, though you can always ask a Cast Member, too!

Rather than breaking this down by location, however, I’ve decided to separate this by character instead. So I’m going to note the character and where he or she has appeared in the past or is currently appearing at this time or has been announced as appearing soon.

Ready, fellow Marvel fans? Then let’s check out where we can find our heroes (and villains!)! 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

Mousertainment at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts in 2017

While ongoing downsizing of entertainment in the parks unfortunately continues, occasional new (or returning) options do thankfully emerge.

Today, I’d like to take a look at a few new, recent and upcoming offerings at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts that I’m excited about in 2017!

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland

  • THREE beloved experiences are returning to Disneyland Park this year. First, the Main Street Electrical Parade has been brought back from the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort where it has dazzled for the past several years. It will be running at Disneyland from January 20-June 18, 2017. (It is expected that Paint the Night parade will then return for the summer months.) I’m excited to see this classic parade back on Disneyland’s Main Street for the first time in decades and am planning an upcoming feature to spotlight it!
  • Second, perhaps Disneyland Park’s best fireworks show ever – Remember Dreams Come True, the 50th Anniversary spectacular – is returning with weekend performances beginning February 3rd. I always felt this was a far superior representation of the park’s history than Disneyland Forever, which was introduced (and ended) for the 60th anniversary celebration.
  • And finally, after having been closed while the Rivers of America were re-routed for the new Star Wars Land, Fantasmic! will once again brighten the Rivers with its magic and music later this year! While I’m thrilled for this wonderful atmospheric show’s return, rumor has it that it is being significantly revised, losing the extremely popular Peter Pan and Hook sequence in favor of a Pirates of the Caribbean scene. We’ll see how this changes the show, but since the original was pretty close to perfect (except maybe the silly Pinocchio bit), it’s going to have to work extra hard to impress!

Continue reading

Character Spotlight: Mickey Mouse at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts

In honor of the birthday of the Mouse that started it all, I thought today would be a good day to run through some of the places where you can see and/or meet with Mickey Mouse himself at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

I’d suggest trying some of these spots!

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland

  • Mickey Mouse can often be spotted in Town Square on Main Street, USA doing a Meet & Greet with guests. But the best place to find him for daily Meet & Greets is in Mickey’s House in ToonTown!
Mickey Mouse March!

Mickey Mouse March!

  • Mickey Mouse joins the Disneyland Band and the Dapper Dans in a March-Along held generally around late morning or lunchtime each day.  While the March-Along is usually announced over the loudspeakers a few minutes beforehand in Town Square, your best bet is to check at City Hall in the morning to ask when it will happen. Mickey also participates in the Soundsational parade (and seasonally he can currently be seen in A Christmas Fantasy Parade).
Hiya Mickey!

Mickey says hi in his Mapmaker outfit!

  • Mickey and the Magical Map – watch Mickey Mouse learn the secrets of the map in this wonderful musical theatrical adventure as he aspires to become a fully-fledged mapmaker!

Check your daily Entertainment Times Guide or the Disneyland app for the schedules for the parades and showtimes. Continue reading

Happy 45th Anniversary to the Walt Disney World Resort!

“In everything you do – celebrate you!”

On October 1, 1971, Roy O. Disney helped make another of Walt Disney’s dreams come true by opening the first park in the Walt Disney World Resort – The Magic Kingdom.

It was the beginning of the ultimate vacation destination and has grown over the past 45 years to incredible proportions to include four theme parks, two water parks, golf courses, a sports training area, resort hotels and a huge shopping district in the newly renamed Disney Springs.

In honor of this special occasion, I’m posting a few shots of the central image of The Magic Kingdom – Cinderella’s Castle – one of the most beautiful structures to photograph in the Resort (plus you can actually enjoy a meal inside of it!):

A view into the restaurant inside the Castle at night.

A view into the restaurant inside the Castle at night.

Even under stormy skies, Cinderella’s Castle is beautiful to behold!

Even under stormy skies, Cinderella’s Castle is beautiful to behold!

Particularly stunning during Wishes fireworks!

Particularly stunning during Wishes fireworks!

Eleven years later, on October 1, 1982, the Walt Disney World Resort opened EPCOT Center – a World’s Fair theme park focused on edutainment ranging from science to world cultures. Continue reading