Character Spotlight: Redd the Pirate

We wants the Redd… Pirate!

Ahoy, mateys, there be a new pirate roaming about the Rivers of America at Disneyland Park – and her name is Redd!

I was fortunate enough to encounter this wench pirate as she was wandering just outside the newly re-opened Pirates of the Caribbean attraction with some guests.

Redd on an adventure with a lucky guest! (And I just have to say the detailing and layering in her costume is really beautiful!)

In my brief interaction with her, I was pleased to find the very essence of a modern incarnation of a Pirates of the Caribbean character. She would fit in perfectly with the films and would likely give Captain Jack Sparrow a run for his money!

I did not see Jack out meeting yesterday as he has been for the past several months, but Redd did say she was looking for him as he’d stolen her ship and she aimed to get it back! Continue reading

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We Wants the Redhead!

As always, this article reflects my personal opinions and observations, not those of anyone else.

This week I went on Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Park to have one last visit with the Redhead, as one of so many guests who have admired and appreciated this beautiful audio-animatronic character creation over the years.

On Monday, April 23rd, the attraction will be closing for a few months and this iconic scene will be altered to better reflect the current audience’s sensibilities. The Redhead will be transforming into a buccaneer herself, running an auction of goods, rather than an object of human trafficking as she is now seen as portrayed through a modern lens.  So the original bride auction version of the Redhead is going, though not everyone is happy about it, with some feeling it is destroying a piece of Disney history and Imagineering design in the process.

Thinking about this change and the furor over it made me realize that the park is really serving several different masters at this point, making it quite impossible to please everyone.

As I see it, there are three types of guests who go to Disney Parks:

  1. The old school hardcore Disney fans – those who have been visiting the parks for decades. They like things as they are – or preferably, as Walt Disney and his WED/Imagineering Legends originally created them. They resist change for any reason, and especially hate what they see as ‘change for the sake of change’ – which often means the adding of IP or “Intellectual Property” to a classic non-IP attraction. See the uproar over: The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management), It’s a Small World (with added Disney characters), Maelstrom becoming Frozen Ever After, shortening the Rivers of America to make room for Galaxy’s Edge, or the various changes the Pirates attraction has already undergone from adding movie characters like Captain Jack Sparrow, Barbossa and Davy Jones to the first politically correct updates made several years ago so the pirates would no longer be chasing the women, but instead chase food or have the women chase them. This crowd feels the park was always better ‘back in the day’ and few changes ever improve an attraction or a park.
  2. The modern Annual Passholder – the folks who go to the park several times a year or once a month or even once (or more) per week. For this group, they like change and expect and embrace it! They want the parks to be constantly evolving and offering them something new every few months at least to make the experience different. This crowd is often social media driven and looking for the latest thing to post on their Instagram, Facebook, etc. So new is always good and desirable – from new food and merchandise, to show updates, to a new “wall” to take a selfie against. This group demands that Disney constantly change to keep their attention.  And whether something has history in the park or not, if it’s outdated in its representation, these folks would often support its eviction or replacement with something new.
  3. The tourist – those folks taking an occasional or even once-in-a-lifetime trip to a Disney Park. This group wants a mix of both! They want the classic Disney Parks experience that they’ve always heard about, but also something unique to make their trip special and different to their neighbors’ who may go in another year. As long as they have a good time – whatever experiences that includes – it was worth the visit!

So how can Disney please all these different kinds of guests? There may be no answer to that other than perhaps giving everyone a little of what they want, even if they can’t have it all. Continue reading

Character Spotlight: Disneyland Resort Update March 2018

With no new shows added lately, I have been spending much of my time at the Disneyland Resort visiting with characters – often with the Marvel characters.

You never know when Loki may turn up again!

Sadly, as of yesterday, Thor & Loki are no longer meeting in the Hollywood Backlot at Disney California Adventure. While we hope for their return sooner rather than later, in the meantime, we have received a new visitor to the park – T’Challa, the Black Panther!

You can’t miss Black Panther entering or exiting the Hollywood Backlot area at Disney California Adventure!

Much like Black Widow this past summer, T’Challa makes his grand entrance on an Avengers transport vehicle and is accompanied by his guards before stopping to Meet & Greet with guests on Stage 17 in the Hollywood Backlot.

His guards are an awesome part of seeing Black Panther at his Meet & Greet – they are FIERCE!

Mousertainment Tip: This Meet & Greet is very popular right now. Be prepared to wait in quite a line to meet Black Panther. If he is your priority, the earlier you can get there, the better! For his daily scheduled appearances, check the Disneyland app. But if you just want to catch a glimpse of him, you can see him traveling through Hollywood Land just prior to and just after each Meet time as he heads into and out of the Hollywood Backlot on the back of an armored truck.

I have had fun visiting some of the classic Disney characters as well, both in scheduled locations, such as Alice and the Mad Hatter in Fantasyland, as well as roaming characters like Gaston. I was even hijacked the other day in New Orleans Square by Captain Jack Sparrow himself, who needed my help to find some treasure on Tom Sawyer Island! Continue reading

Mousertainment Movies: What Was Worth Watching in 2017?

This week and next week’s Mousertainment Movies posts are always some of my favorites of the year to write. For today, I’ll be taking a look back at the movies I anticipated watching in 2017, note what I wound up seeing or missing and why (films I actually saw are marked with an *), and what I thought of the ones that I sat through.

Below were my picks in January 2017 in their original order of my interest in seeing them. At the end of this article, I’ll put them in the order in which I actually liked them best!

Here was what I was looking forward to a year ago:

10) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 *

Reasons I wanted to see it:

  • Drax
  • Baby Groot
  • Kurt Russell as Ego
  • Chris Pratt as Star-Lord
  • Continuation of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) storyline

Reasons to see it:

  • The cast
  • Yondu for the win in this film!
  • Continuation of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) storyline
  • Another fun soundtrack
  • Its popularity helped inspire my favorite new show of the year at the Disneyland Resort: Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance-Off!

9) Cars 3 *

Reasons I wanted to see it:

  • Pixar
  • Another visit with the wonderful Cars characters
  • Really hoping it’s better than Cars 2

Reasons to see it:

  • It was way better than Cars 2 (though still not as good as the first Cars film for me)

8) Stephen King’s It

Reasons I wanted to see it:

  • Love the original source material
  • Love the original mini-series – it’s absolutely perfect and this will have a lot to live up to but I’m strangely rather optimistic about it.
  • Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise – nobody can compare to Tim Curry in his defining take on this role, but it looks like they’re going for a different style here and I am a big fan of all of the Skarsgards – Bill was terrific in the wonderful Netflix series Hemlock Grove. He can definitely do menacing and creepy.

Reasons I didn’t see it:

  • Waiting for home entertainment release (but I REALLY still want to watch this one!)

7) Kong: Skull Island

Reasons I wanted to see it:

  • Tom Hiddleston
  • I’ve yet to see a King Kong movie I really like but I am intrigued by the concept and origins of the character.
  • I miss the amazing banana-breath audio-animatronic version of King Kong at Universal Studios Hollywood.  Not sure anything digital will ever top anything practical, however.

Reasons I didn’t see it:

  • Waiting for home entertainment release

6) Murder on the Orient Express

Reasons I wanted to see it:

  • Director Kenneth Branagh
  • Agatha Christie stories are always fun
  • Stellar cast

Reasons I didn’t see it:

  • Waiting for home entertainment release
  • Branagh’s excessive mustache was REALLY bugging me in the ads for the film – I don’t know if I want to stare at that thing for a whole movie length (shallow reasoning but truth) Continue reading

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

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

One Hour at D23 Expo 2017 – Part One: Costume Displays

I hadn’t actually planned on going to the D23 Expo this year. I’d been priced out of being able to afford tickets, so I’d made alternate plans for last weekend including going to see a band gig at a concert in the park one night and seeing other favorite performers throughout the day and evening at the Disneyland Resort. But then thanks to a friend, I wound up unexpectedly getting a ticket for Sunday. I knew I needed to head over to the park that day around 12-ish, but I figured I might be able to squeeze in an hour or so on the Expo show floor, so I said yes, please, and thank you!

I knew from previous years that the earlier you arrived in the morning, the longer the wait to get in as it takes a while for the crowd and security to start flowing once the doors open. So I got there when I could and it took me “only” about an hour and a half wait in the line to get inside the convention center (as opposed to the two to three hour wait other friends reported who arrived earlier than I had).

The line outside the convention center. I know it just looks like a crowd, but it was a constantly twisting and turning line!

Once inside, sure enough, I was going to have just one hour to see whatever I could see before I had to leave. So this meant I couldn’t stand in line to get inside two of the most popular areas – neither the Parks & Resorts Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area:

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge display area. This contained models and props from the new Star Wars lands at Disneyland Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Nor the Walt Disney Archives’ Pirates display:

The Walt Disney Archives “Pirates Life For Me” showcase.

Instead, I had to wander the Expo floor and see what I could see! Fortunately this included a couple of great costume displays, which I will share with you today. Next week, I’ll share some pictures of other things I spotted while I was there!

First I walked right into some live action Disney princess and villains costumes. Continue reading