Mousertainment’s Favorite Bands: Uptown Funk – Tribute to Bruno Mars

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Uptown Funk gonna give it to you!

As my regular readers know by now, summer is one of my favorite times of the year to enjoy a live show. Is there any better combination than a warm evening and awesome tunes played by a great band?!

I’ve been lucky enough to catch Faultlines at the Paradise Garden Bandstand in Disney California Adventure recently – they’ll be back again this coming Wednesday and you may find TOMASINA performing on Friday! But with the shrinking number of live band venues at the Disneyland Resort, I’m having to seek further afield for my live musical entertainment this season. That’s where I’m grateful for various summer concert series all around the Southland!

Recently I encountered a fantastic Bruno Mars tribute band called Uptown Funk (or UptownFunkUSA per their social media).

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Saturday night and we in the spot – don’t believe me? Just watch!

Inspired by the style, sound and choreography of a Bruno Mars show, this band was pure fun to watch and a pleasure to listen to, thanks to its wonderful lead singer!

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Show Spotlight: Pixar Pals Dance Party

What is the Pixar Pals Dance Party?

DJ at the Pixar Pals Dance Party

As part of this summer’s Pixar Fest, last weekend Disneyland Park began a nightly Pixar Pals Dance Party. Featuring a DJ spinning favorite pop and Disney tunes and leading guests in line dance choreography, this party is further energized by ongoing appearances of Pixar character favorites.

Each set of characters has a particular dance associated to them – from Russell doing a “Wilderness Explorers Hand Jive” to a “Green Army Men March” to characters forming a Conga line to a monster or food-themed dance. Plus other familiar songs with choreography are played such as the Macarena, so everyone can follow the DJ and Cast Members as they lead the moving musical fun!

Who are the performers?

On the first night I attended the party last weekend, along with the terrific DJ keeping the party going non-stop, special characters included:

Remy and Emile from Ratatouille

The Green Army Men from Toy Story 

Russell and Dug from UP 

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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

The Changing Face of Downtown Disney – Part Three (and DCA Food & Wine 2018 Update)

I’ve previously addressed the many changes that have been and are continuing to happen in Downtown Disney in Anaheim. This week, Disney announced the closing dates for the businesses on the west side that will be impacted by the upcoming construction project for the new hotel.

As of June 30, 2018 (although perhaps earlier than that in some cases), the following will be permanently closing:

  • AMC Theatres
  • Earl of Sandwich
  • ESPN Zone
  • Rainforest Cafe
  • Starbucks Coffee (west side location only – the main location next to World of Disney will remain open)

The main stage by ESPN Zone is expected to be removed by then as well, but for a little while longer, music fans can continue to enjoy seeing various bands performing there.

A few dates of note for that Downtown Disney stage will include appearances by:

Tuesday, April 17 – Phat Cat Swinger

Wednesday, April 18 – Faultlines

Friday, May 4 – Grilled Cheese Soundwich

Saturday, May 5 – Hiatus

Friday, May 11 – The Suffragettes

Tuesday, May 15 – Phat Cat Swinger

Saturday, May 19 – The 80z All-Stars

Saturday, May 26 – TOMASINA

Wednesday, May 30 – Faultlines

Saturday, June 9 – TOMASINA

Saturday, June 16 – Hiatus

Shows here generally begin at 6pm though everything on the schedule is always subject to change!

Groups will hopefully continue to perform in front of the WonderGround Gallery as well, even after the main stage goes away for the construction project. But with the recent opening of Splitsville, there is a new outdoor stage that is also hosting musical acts:

Stage at Splitsville’s outdoor bar.

Unfortunately, it is located directly across from the WonderGround performance area and the two sets of performers are frequently in audio competition while singing at the same time. This is a very unfortunate placement that I wish had been considered prior to the opening of Splitsville.

I don’t know how one spot can sustain two simultaneous musical acts and I fear that we could lose the WonderGround area as performance space eventually. Between that and the loss of the main stage by the ESPN Zone, Downtown Disney could be taking a serious downturn in live musical entertainment and I hope a new performing location can be established to replace at least one of these venues. Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Flynn Rider @ Mickey and the Magical Map

I’ll admit that Mickey and the Magical Map is not one of my most regular shows to visit at the Disneyland Resort as I’ve had other favorites take precedence over it.  However, I have seen it a LOT due to my favorite Mapmaker (sadly, no longer a regular there) and because the show is a top choice of a family member. And happily, there are still plenty of talented singers and dancers to be found there including one of the absolute greatest vocalists in the park:

As if he walked right out of a movie screen…

When Flynn Rider steps out on to the stage and this guy starts to sing, you can’t help but listen wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the exalted notes emanating from him.

Every single time I hear him perform a song, I feel transported to the glorious days of Technicolor movie musicals – it’s like hearing a Gordon MacRae or Nelson Eddy singing live in front of you. He’s got this amazing classic throwback sound to him that’s simply enchanting to hear – just an overpowering unreal beautiful boundless baritone that sweeps you up in it every time he sings.  Continue reading

Performer Spotlight: Noel @ Main Street Ragtime Piano

Forget about your worries and your strife…”

Noel is always smiling and happy to say hello!

I am LONG overdue for this spotlight, as this wonderful guy has been at the Ragtime Piano on Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland Park for about a year now! Where has the time gone?!

One can find Noel tickling the ivories at Coke Corner multiple days a week to the absolute delight of everyone who gets to see and hear him. His repertoire – which is constantly growing – consists of timely jazzy ragtime standards and simply a ton of Disney classics!

On any given day I’ve gone to see him – and I do try to stop and see him as often as possible – I’ve heard him play anything from “The Bare Necessities” to “It’s a Small World” to “You Can Fly” to a fun ragtime version of “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”. Continue reading

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival 2018 – Entertainment

Next weekend the 2018 edition of the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival will begin. It will run from March 2nd through April 12th. And as with previous iterations, it’s neither the food nor drink that I’m excited to sample – it’s the entertainment!

This year, different bands will be performing daily and I’m particularly happy that two of my favorite groups have regularly scheduled performing days throughout the Festival run.

First up is the rockin’ Grilled Cheese Soundwich! They will be performing on Mondays and Wednesdays and should have five 30-minute sets that would run between 12:30pm-6:45pm. For exact times, there may be Festival printouts available starting next weekend or the information may be posted by the stage. I’m guessing they will be on the main stage in front of Paradise Bay, but they could also wind up at the Paradise Garden Bandstand. When I find out more, I’ll update this post!

UPDATE 3/2/18: Yes, it looks like they are set for the main stage (UPDATE: 3/15/18: set times at 12:30pm, 1:45pm, 3:15pm, 5:00pm, and 6:15pm):

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Their scheduled dates (as always subject to change) are:

Mondays:

  • March 5, 12, 19, 26
  • April 2, 9

Wednesdays:

  • March 7, 14, 21, 28
  • April 4

Second is the swingin’ Phat Cat Swinger! They will be performing on the main stage in front of Paradise Bay on most Fridays and Sundays and should have three 30-minute sets that would start at: 10:45am, 11:35am, and 12:50pm.

UPDATE 3/15/18: They also have a set at 1:45pm!

Their scheduled dates (as always subject to change) are: Continue reading