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

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

Show Spotlight Flashback: Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Mickey Mouse!

Next weekend will herald the return of the refreshed Pixar Play Parade, moving from its original home at Disney California Adventure to its newer incarnation with plussed/added floats in Disneyland Park.  So this week seems the appropriate time to look back at Mickey’s Soundsational Parade that came in with a bang a few years ago and left recently with no send-off whatsoever… (though granted, the park website is still listing it as “Returning Later”, so it may yet get a formal good-bye – or a welcome back!)

What was Mickey’s Soundsational Parade?

Ariel!

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade premiered in the summer of 2011 and featured sections from:

  • The Fab Five (Mickey Mouse & Friends)
  • Aladdin
  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Three Caballeros
  • The Lion King
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • Peter Pan
  • Mary Poppins

The floats and vehicles were generally a mix of movie-location-themed (ala Rapunzel’s tower or a sea-grouping for Ariel) and music/drum themed pieces for the “Soundsational” music concept tying them all together.

Tiana and Louis!

Who were the performers? 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

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