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

Advertisements

How to Have a Romantic Valentine’s Day at the Disney Parks & Resorts

With Valentine’s Day coming up soon, you may be thinking about how best to celebrate the day. You could always curl up at home with a good romantic Disney or Pixar film!

But perhaps you’d rather spend the day at the Disney Parks & Resorts with your loved one?

In that case, I hope you’ve gotten your dining reservations done in advance, as it is a very popular day for a special Disney meal!

While some folks will opt for a fancy table service meal for some fine dining (and there are PLENTY of choices ranging from the atmospheric Blue Bayou at Disneyland Park to the delicious Le Cellier at EPCOT), maybe you and your loved one prefer to enjoy a real Disney meal with character? In which case, there’s very little that can top the magic of dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table inside Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom – unless it’s dining at Be Our Guest in Fantasyland nearby!

Personally, I think one of the best combinations over at the Disneyland Resort is having dinner and a movie. Now, you could (for now) visit the AMC Theatres in Downtown Disney and pair that with a meal, but really my favorite way to do this is right on Main Street U.S.A.! Continue reading

Disney Parks Holiday Specials Filming 2017

Believe it or not, celebrities love to visit the Disney Parks just as much as the rest of us. While I rarely tend to notice them blending in amongst the crowds, I was fortunate enough this past week to spot one of my favorite TV actors there enjoying a Mickey Mouse-filled day!

I’m not posting pics, nor sharing specifics, as they were there on their own private time. But it was a thrill to see someone I’m a huge fan of being a Disney fan, too!

But sometimes in the parks when I see celebrities, it’s because they’re there to perform something for Disney itself.

For example, this year’s celebrity narrator at Disneyland Park for the Candlelight Processional was the God of Thunder, Thor himself – Chris Hemsworth! This caused immense excitement, but was also a dilemma for me. I happened to be in the park at the time the second show was starting on one of those nights and I love seeing Candlelight and the talented singers and musicians who perform in it, but I was actually trying to leave the park at that time to go over to a Marvel meet at Disney California Adventure! So, clarifying my priorities, I decided to forego the Candlelight crowds and head for the meet instead. It took half an hour in a packed, barely-moving mass of people (very claustrophobic) to actually exit the park that night due to the Candlelight constraints – ugh! But I finally got out of Disneyland Park and headed over to Disney California Adventure to have a wonderful Meet & Greet with Loki that night (Thor, being otherwise occupied, was not there). So yes, I guess I’m really a character fan now as well as an entertainment cast fan since I’d rather go to a character Meet & Greet than see an actor in person!

Another example of seeing performers at the parks in an official capacity was in mid-November when I happened to be at the Disneyland Resort on a day when the ABC Christmas specials were filming!

This year, ABC aired “The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration” on November 30th and will also present “Disney Parks Magical Christmas Celebration” on Christmas Day.

As I wandered through Disneyland Park that day, I saw the stage where Jason Derulo would later be performing (though I did not wait in the crowd to watch the performance):

The stage in front of the castle at Disneyland Park for the holiday special filming.

I also noticed cameras and lights set up by the tree in Town Square:

Lights, camera…

It’s always fun to see a production in process, but I think the highlight for me that day was something very classically Disney… I saw some of the newest Mouseketeers! Continue reading

Cast Members Making Magic – Water Paintings and Leaf Pictures

In this week of celebrating what we are thankful for, my thoughts turn once again to the many amazing Disney Cast Members who manage to make magic for their guests in different kinds of ways all year long – day and night.

In a previous feature, I’ve noted how you can thank them in return. Please take a little time out of your visit to find a reason to do so.

For today, I would like to spotlight a couple of magical artistic moments I experienced recently at the Disneyland Resort that brightened my day with their unexpected appearances!

I’ve been fortunate enough to watch talented members of the Disney parks custodial team create Disney character water paintings with their mops and buckets, and recently I had a wonderful Cast Member at Disneyland Park create one just for me when he saw me wearing clothes featuring my favorite character!

A custodial Cast Member making character art especially for me!

The final result:

Cheshire Cat water painting.

It completely made my night when that lovely Cast Member did this!

Then, not long ago, I was at Disney California Adventure and found another custodial Cast Member creating art in a different way – he was making Mickey Mouse icons out of fallen leaves!

This was both a surprising, happy bit of Disney magic and art as well as a wonderful celebration of the fall season. And since I’m not quite ready to get fully into Christmas mode just yet, I wanted to share these lovely creations with you. Continue reading

Other Disneyland Resort Halloween Time Updates 2017

All Hallow’s Eve greetings from the Carthay Circle restaurant!

Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken a look at some newer entertainment (The SCAREolers) and characters in costumes found during this Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort. For today though, I’d just like to wander through the resort and point out some other highlights that I’ve enjoyed this season…

Disneyland Park

At Disneyland Park this month, I’ve been happy to see some of the Halloween standards such as the Dapper Dans singing Halloween sets:

And taking time to visit my favorite Halloween décor in the park – the Halloween Tree lit in honor of Ray Bradbury’s classic tale:

The Halloween Tree!

But as I’ve noted before, it was at Disney California Adventure that everything new was happening! 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!”

IMG_7967 sm wm

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.

IMG_7969 sm wm

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

The Best Laid Plans of Mousertainment…

After nearly a year of planning – including early mornings up before dawn to arrange dining and FastPass+ reservations, this week I was all set to head off to Walt Disney World for a wonderful visit… and then Hurricane Irma happened.

Suffice it to say, my long-anticipated trip got canceled and yesterday instead of enjoying all my exciting options at Epcot, I found myself sitting at home staring at a yet-to-be-unpacked suitcase. So what’s a Disney fan to do except head off to the Disneyland Resort and try to do a West Coast version of the day I’d originally envisioned?

Dining

My food plans for the day were set to be all about Canada! I had intended to try out the cheddar cheese soup and pretzel roll at the Canada booth at the Food & Wine Festival and then have dinner at Le Cellier in the Canada pavilion.  So what did I do at the Disneyland Resort instead?

I stopped by the last weekend of the Summer of Heroes event at Disney California Adventure where I found one of the themed specialty donuts called the “Local Favorite”.

It’s Canadian-adjacent. Or related. Or something. Hey, there’s maple in it!

How did this pay homage to my Epcot dining plans? Umm, hello MAPLE-filled donut (with bacon on top – oh yes!)!!!

While I’ll have to give the edge to the apple-pie-filled donut I’d tried earlier in the season, this one was a winner, too. Although I didn’t actually find much filling inside, it still had the awesome taste as if someone had mixed a pancake with a donut. And the bacon bits on top gave just a touch of salt to balance out the sweet. Yum!

Entertainment

High on my priorities list for entertainment at Epcot was to see the glorious Voices of Liberty and listen to their soaring harmonies and classic music selections. Continue reading