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

Season’s Treatings – Pixar Fest & More Treats at the Disneyland Resort – Part One

I’ve been snacking my way around the Disneyland Resort these past several weeks sampling various new themed food offerings connected to the limited Pixar Fest event and some new menu items in general and I thought I’d share some of my reactions to what I’ve tried.

I’m calling this “Part One”, since Disney has announced that some themed treats will be leaving as of June 23rd (the official opening date of the Pixar Pier overlay) and new items will arrive at that time. I’m looking forward to trying what’s new, but here are my personal recommendations for and against what I’ve eaten lately and what’s worth catching before it disappears!

Let’s start of with the first version of the UP-themed donut that appeared at the cappuccino cart at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland Park!

The Russell Wilderness Explorer Badge donut

Now, I’ve sampled donuts from this cart previously and my conclusion for this donut is pretty similar: this is a large, good straightforward donut, though it’s not cheap at $6. Still for a sweet big snack at the park, I really liked it! A basic vanilla-cake donut with vanilla frosting and the badge was a chocolate piece on top. Solid. Good. The only reason I didn’t have it again is that for the price point, I’d probably opt for a different dessert or snack choice. Plus this one is now gone. It has been replaced with the current UP-themed donut served daily at the same cart:

Carl’s House with Balloons donut

Now this one on the other hand, I would not have again as I found it actually too sweet! (And I have a pretty high sweet-level tolerance.) Again a basic vanilla-cake donut, but the frosting on top was more sugary and the balloons are chocolate-covered candy along with the chocolate piece house. I wouldn’t particularly recommend this one just due to sugar overload, but it wasn’t bad by any means. Continue reading

Disneyland Resort Pixar Fest 2018 – Entertainment

From April 13th to September 3rd, the Disneyland Resort will be hosting Pixar Fest – a celebration of all things Pixar. As expected with seasonal events, there will be special food and merchandise offered. And on June 23rd, Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure will officially reopen as Pixar Pier with newly re-themed attractions and venues. But as usual, what I’m looking forward to most are the entertainment options!

Since we have the whole summer to enjoy this event, I’ll slowly work my way through the various offerings, but here are the highlights of what I’m looking forward to seeing:

Disneyland Park

  • Will the Dapper Dans add some of Pixar greatest hits into their repertoire? The park website seems to hint at it, so I’ll be sure to check and report back!
  • Pixar Play Parade – with new floats and characters added, it will make its way up and down the parade route here as it migrates over from its original home at Disney California Adventure.
  • Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular – the new Pixar-themed fireworks show features the UP house with balloons floating over the castle!
  • Pixar Pals Dance Party – starting June 8th at Tomorrowland Terrace, party it up with characters that will supposedly include: Russell, Dug, Woody, Jessie, the Green Army Men and more!  (This pretty strongly implies that we won’t have bands at this venue this summer.  And since the Downtown Disney main stage will also be gone by the end of June, Disney California Adventure is our only hope now for live musical entertainment this summer as the Dance Party will likely be DJ-driven.) Continue reading

Mousertainment Movies: What’s Worth Watching in 2018?

Today I get to look ahead and anticipate which movies I will go see in theaters in 2018, which ones I’ll wait to catch on home entertainment releases, and which ones I’m guessing I will like the most!

It’s actually a really busy film year, so narrowing down my choices of the Top 10 I most want to see is weirdly knocking out a few films that I will very likely go see anyway!

There’s also a strange phenomenon of a couple of films being high on my want-to-see list, for which I haven’t yet seen the previous film but still really want to! (Noted below.)

Here is my list in order of how much I want to see them!

10) Winchester (Feb 2)

Reasons I want to see it:

  • I’ve always been fascinated by this house and its story.
  • Rose Red is an underrated mini-series and maybe now I can remind people to watch it!
  • Helen Mirren

9) Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22) ** still haven’t seen the previous Jurassic World film!

Reasons I want to see it:

  • Continuation of the Jurassic Park storyline
  • Chris Pratt & Jeff Goldblum together – let the silliness commence!
  • Dinosaurs

8) Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Nov 16) ** still haven’t seen the previous Fantastic Beasts film!

Reasons I want to see it:

  • More of the Harry Potter universe
  • The cast

7) Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6)

Reasons I want to see it:

  • Michael Peña as Luis since he completely and utterly stole every scene in the first film!
  • Continuation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) storyline

6) X-Men: Dark Phoenix (Nov 2) ** still haven’t seen the most recent X-Men film nor Logan!

Reason I want to see it:

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

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