40 Things I Love About Star Wars

In honor of the major milestone on May 25, 2017 of the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope, I decided this week to run down a list of 40 things I love about the Star Wars franchise.

Note: these are in a random order pretty much off the top of my head as they occurred to me aside from the final number one choice!

 

  1. Kylo Ren’s temper tantrums – EPIC, but duck!

 

  1. Darth Maul – such a bold colorful character created randomly in the middle of the prequel chaos. He was the Boba Fett of the prequel trilogy and I still wish we had seen him more in films.

 

  1. Poe Dameron / Cassian Andor – I would like to take this time to personally thank the casting directors for giving us Oscar Isaac and Diego Luna. That is all.

 

  1. General Leia – for all the girls who grew up wanting to be Princess Leia… and then became the women who want to grow up to be General Leia, Carrie Fisher is owed a great debt of gratitude.

 

  1. Getting to see actors from the prequel series and the original series in the sequel series and standalones. Yay for continuity!

 

  1. Wicket. Yes, the space teddy bears were probably not the best idea in retrospect. But still… cuddly Wicket.

 

  1. Getting to make your own custom Star Wars action figure with your own face on it at various Disney Star Wars events via D-Tech Me. Everything. REALLY hoping this comes to the new Star Wars Lands as a regular offering.

 

  1. And along with that – the “Build Your Own” stops at both Disneyland Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios where you can build your own light saber, droid (ala R2-D2) and newly introduced protocol droids (ala C-3PO).

 

  1. The dearly missed Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. No, I never went to one, but I always enjoyed reading about them and would have loved to attend even once.

 

  1. Hugging Chewbacca at the Launch Bay at either Disneyland Park or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you have not been hugged by a Wookiee, your life is incomplete. Sorry.  Continue reading

My Global Disney Parks & Resorts Bucket List

A hint/spoiler for the top of my “bucket” list!

Earlier this week on April 12, Disneyland Paris (originally “EuroDisney”) celebrated 25 years since its opening. Some friends of mine were there amidst the bustle and festivities. Along with various merchandise offerings, there was a grand promenade of 25 rare characters including those from more obscure films like Treasure Planet and Meet the Robinsons. Special appearances also included Jessica Rabbit, Pleakley from Lilo & Stitch, and – most exciting to me – the Cheshire Cat and March Hare!

And yet impressive as this was, given the opportunity, Disneyland Paris would still be lower on the list of global/non-U.S. mainland Disney locations that I’d most like to visit.

I’ve previously shared my “Disney Do” list of Disney experiences I’d like to someday have, but today I’m going to share my global Disney Parks & Resorts list of where I would go if I won the lottery or if someone magically said “you can go anywhere in the world today – where would you like to go?” (Because of course my answer would be somewhere Disney!)

5. Aulani

  • To be honest, I have very little interest in visiting Aulani as it seems to be too much of a hybrid – it’s Hawaii by Disney and therefore, to me, seems to be not enough Hawaii if I was looking for that authentic experience and not enough Disney if I was looking for that magical experience. It is lowest on my Disney priorities, however, if I really did win the lottery and could visit EVERY Disney location in the world, I’d certainly stop here, too. The resort looks lovely and the lazy river looks very relaxing. If I was doing a global tour, this would be my final stop to just slow down and rest at the end of it all.

4. Disneyland Paris

  • The home of the first Alice in Wonderland maze attraction (this one dedicated to the original animated version of the film) also has a unique Ratatouille-themed area in its Walt Disney Studios Park. While I’d start with those two attractions, I’d also be interested in seeing their parades and lights and fireworks spectaculars, along with the Paris-exclusive live shows such as Forest of Enchantment and Mickey and the Magician. I also like that their interpretation of Tomorrowland – called Discoveryland – has a steampunk vibe to it, and of course visiting their Phantom Manor attraction (their variation on the Haunted Mansion) and seeing the dragon that lies beneath their castle would be musts, too! Continue reading

Mousertainment at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts in 2017

While ongoing downsizing of entertainment in the parks unfortunately continues, occasional new (or returning) options do thankfully emerge.

Today, I’d like to take a look at a few new, recent and upcoming offerings at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts that I’m excited about in 2017!

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland

  • THREE beloved experiences are returning to Disneyland Park this year. First, the Main Street Electrical Parade has been brought back from the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort where it has dazzled for the past several years. It will be running at Disneyland from January 20-June 18, 2017. (It is expected that Paint the Night parade will then return for the summer months.) I’m excited to see this classic parade back on Disneyland’s Main Street for the first time in decades and am planning an upcoming feature to spotlight it!
  • Second, perhaps Disneyland Park’s best fireworks show ever – Remember Dreams Come True, the 50th Anniversary spectacular – is returning with weekend performances beginning February 3rd. I always felt this was a far superior representation of the park’s history than Disneyland Forever, which was introduced (and ended) for the 60th anniversary celebration.
  • And finally, after having been closed while the Rivers of America were re-routed for the new Star Wars Land, Fantasmic! will once again brighten the Rivers with its magic and music later this year! While I’m thrilled for this wonderful atmospheric show’s return, rumor has it that it is being significantly revised, losing the extremely popular Peter Pan and Hook sequence in favor of a Pirates of the Caribbean scene. We’ll see how this changes the show, but since the original was pretty close to perfect (except maybe the silly Pinocchio bit), it’s going to have to work extra hard to impress!

Continue reading

Two Years of Mousertainment

It’s incredible to me, as I scroll through two years of articles I’ve written here on this Mousertainment site, to think about all the folks from around the world who’ve stopped by to check out the site during that time.

My extreme thanks to those of you who chose to stay awhile and have opted to follow the site and get notifications whenever I post new features. I hope I can further entertain and inform you in the next year.

It was my original intention – and one that I continue to honor – to celebrate the talented people and wonderful shows I’ve had the pleasure of getting to see regularly over the past several years at the Disney Parks and Resorts.

I’ve also enjoyed getting to cover the occasional off-site show or topic as well. But they usually have a Mouse-y connection somewhere!

As I embark on year three, I intend to go see more shows, discover new amazing performers and bring them to your attention. (Although perhaps at a slightly reduced posting pace – likely only one feature per week unless circumstances and subjects dictate otherwise!)

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It’s also my dream for this year to return to the Walt Disney World Resort as it has been too long since my last visit and I miss seeing the singers and dancers and musicians and shows there! If I can work out a trip later this year, I promise to return with more photos, videos and reviews of the current state of entertainment at that Resort! Continue reading

Holiday Tree Lightings at Disney California Adventure and Disneyland

As mentioned yesterday, with the disappearance this year of The Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers at Disney California Adventure, there is no longer really a Christmas tree lighting “ceremony” anymore at that park.

Instead, a voice over the loudspeaker informs guests in the area at dusk that they can attend the nightly tree lighting on Buena Vista Street near Elias & Co.

Mousertainment Tip: Check your daily Entertainment Times Guide or Disneyland app for the schedule, but it has been pretty consistently happening at 4:55pm daily at Disney California Adventure and is supposed to continue through December 30th this year.

DCA Christmas tree. Now it’s unlit…

DCA Christmas tree. Now it’s unlit…

With little other ado, the tree is lit and guests are urged to shout “Happy Holidays!”

And… now it’s lit. That’s pretty much it.

And… now it’s lit. That’s pretty much it.

Sadly, this lack of ceremony is simply a re-do of what Disneyland has also been doing for some time… Continue reading

Disneyland Resort Holiday Mousertainment Update – Christmas 2016

Holiday Toy Drummers performing near Ghirardelli’s during the Disney California Adventure Festival of Holidays.

Holiday Toy Drummers performing near Ghirardelli’s during the Disney California Adventure Festival of Holidays.

As the Disneyland Resort settles fully into its Christmastime celebration, there is so much going on this year that while I plan to do a few in-depth features in the next few weeks, I still felt a general overview might be helpful!

So what kind of holiday entertainment is happening this Christmas? Let’s break it down by location!

Mousertainment Tip: Most of these holiday shows will run through January 8, 2017. Check your daily Entertainment Times Guide or the Disneyland app for the schedule. But if they’re not listed, you can always ask at City Hall or the Chamber of Commerce for more information!

Disneyland Park

  • A Christmas Fantasy Parade
  • Christmas Tree Lighting (daily before sundown in Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A.)
  • Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle (lights display and nightly snowfall!)
  • “Believe… in Holiday Magic” Fireworks Spectacular
  • Dickens Yuletide Band (on Main Street, U.S.A.)
Sleeping Beauty's Winter Castle nightly lights display.

Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle nightly lights display.

The Dapper Dans of Disneyland are wearing their candy-cane striped colors to perform Christmas songs for the crowds this season. Look for a feature on their holiday sets next week!

And of course, don’t miss the annual holiday attraction overlays such as Haunted Mansion Holiday, It’s a Small World Holiday and the Jingle Cruise. In particular, I’d recommend stopping by It’s a Small World in the evening to watch the beautiful lighting display on the outside facade!

It's a Small World Holiday at night.

It’s a Small World Holiday at night.

But it’s not just Disneyland Park where you can celebrate the holidays… Continue reading

Happy 45th Anniversary to the Walt Disney World Resort!

“In everything you do – celebrate you!”

On October 1, 1971, Roy O. Disney helped make another of Walt Disney’s dreams come true by opening the first park in the Walt Disney World Resort – The Magic Kingdom.

It was the beginning of the ultimate vacation destination and has grown over the past 45 years to incredible proportions to include four theme parks, two water parks, golf courses, a sports training area, resort hotels and a huge shopping district in the newly renamed Disney Springs.

In honor of this special occasion, I’m posting a few shots of the central image of The Magic Kingdom – Cinderella’s Castle – one of the most beautiful structures to photograph in the Resort (plus you can actually enjoy a meal inside of it!):

A view into the restaurant inside the Castle at night.

A view into the restaurant inside the Castle at night.

Even under stormy skies, Cinderella’s Castle is beautiful to behold!

Even under stormy skies, Cinderella’s Castle is beautiful to behold!

Particularly stunning during Wishes fireworks!

Particularly stunning during Wishes fireworks!

Eleven years later, on October 1, 1982, the Walt Disney World Resort opened EPCOT Center – a World’s Fair theme park focused on edutainment ranging from science to world cultures. Continue reading