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!”
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.
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
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?
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!
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
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!
- Kylo Ren’s temper tantrums – EPIC, but duck!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Getting to see actors from the prequel series and the original series in the sequel series and standalones. Yay for continuity!
- Wicket. Yes, the space teddy bears were probably not the best idea in retrospect. But still… cuddly Wicket.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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
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!)
- 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
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!
- 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!
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!)
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
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…
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.
Sadly, this lack of ceremony is simply a re-do of what Disneyland has also been doing for some time… Continue reading