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

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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

Performer Spotlight: Gamora @ Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance-Off!

“You all totally rock.”

The totally awesome Gamora!

There are three reasons I absolutely love the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance-Off! show at Disney California Adventure:

First, the music and dancing are super fun!

Second, Star-Lord. No, but really, Star-Lord.

And last but definitely not least, this girl.

Again, sometimes you just get ridiculously lucky and find exactly the right person in exactly the right show – and along with Star-Lord, this girl is it.

Everything about her is on point – from her look to her ‘tude. She’s tough, intimidating, confident, cool. And she certainly would never dance.

Well… Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Star-Lord @ Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance-Off!

“Fox on the run…”

Okay, yeah, I’ve been singing the praises of the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance-Off show a LOT during the Summer of Heroes event at Disney California Adventure these past few months. But when a show is particularly great, I tend to say so. And when a performer is particularly great, I tend to shout it from the rooftops. Or at least from the blog!

So this guy…

Star-Lord!

Pretty much owned me as a fan from the first second I saw him walking through the onlookers while talking snark to Gamora. He’s got an ease and effortless nonchalance that’s utterly appealing and immediately puts the audience into an appropriately amused and upbeat mood for the show.

He’s funny, he can dance, he’s terrific when improvising and engaging with the crowd and he utterly melted my heart last week when he dropped down on his knees to interact with a little special needs girl in the crowd who he brought up to dance with him. Talented and a gentle soul/big heart? Winner! Continue reading

Show Spotlight: Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!

Gamora and Star-Lord at the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!  And as usual – they’re in trouble and need help!

What is the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!?

At this Marvel-ous show, guests young and old get the opportunity to boogie with Star-Lord and Gamora as they try to dance their way out of trouble with the Collector!

Gamora and Star-Lord with the boombox that starts all the commotion…

Star-Lord is his usual insouciant self as he tries to recover a boombox from under the Collector’s nose (or attraction?). Gamora just wants to get out of there while Rocket warns them over the loudspeaker to hurry up!

But of course, it’s never easy, and the Collector starts tracking the Guardians soon after they arrive. So when Rocket suggests using a lot of movement to fool the tracking system, Star-Lord starts a Dance-Off with the crowd and the musical merriment begins!

Who are the performers?

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Groot, Star-Lord and Gamora at the Awesome Dance Off!

Star-Lord and Gamora from the Guardians of the Galaxy, along with some cast members invite guests from the crowd to show off their best dance moves!

And if you’re lucky, Groot may show up, too!

Mousertainment Tip: At the beginning of the summer, I saw Groot at each Dance Off show, but recently I was there and there was no Groot and someone said he may no longer be at every set. So if Groot is a priority for you to see – and dance with! – I’d suggest stopping by a few minutes prior to the show and asking one of the Cast Members stationed in front of the area if Groot will be joining for that set.

When and where can I find it? Continue reading

Performers Spotlight: Dapper Ken and Dapper Wesley and Dapper David and Bonus Dapper Frank @ The Dapper Dans of Disneyland

“Laughter on the levee, no one’s heart is heavy…”

In this patriotic week, I realized that I am long overdue to spotlight several of our bass-singing Dapper Dans of Disneyland – those staples of Main Street, U.S.A.!

These talented low-vocal red-and-white-costumed fellows provide much of the levity and comedy in the Dapper Dan routines, so I wanted to give a quick shout-out to a few more of these talented guys!

First up is Dapper Ken – Ken is a jovial gentleman for whom Dappering seems to be not just second nature, but first! Some people just seem so right in their roles and Ken is one of them! He’s got a lovely warm voice and an equally warm personality to go with it – with just a hint (okay, maybe more than a hint) of mischief in his eyes as well. He’s particularly fun to watch during the Halloween Dapper sets.  I always wind up grinning when Ken is performing!

Dapper Ken

Next up is Dapper Wesley – Wesley is simply the one of the most perfect period performers at the park! He is the epitome of mid-century middle America and every time I watch him I keep thinking it’s like he stepped right out of “Leave it To Beaver” or a Jimmy Stewart film and into 1955 Disneyland Park. Watching Wesley is a total time warp for me and a great atmospheric addition whenever he’s there.

Dapper Wesley

On certain occasions, Wesley has also been known to sing baritone – such as one day when he was found in that blue-striped role while another bass, Dapper Frank (a returned but still rare to spot longtime Dapper Dan), was in red! Continue reading