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

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Sherlocked USA 2017 – The Convention

Look for me at 221B Baker Street!

Last weekend, instead of braving the Memorial Day weekend crowds at the parks, I was fortunate enough to attend a different gathering of fans thanks to a new convention that came to town – Sherlocked USA!

Previously only held in Europe, Sherlocked is the official convention of the hit British television series, Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. And while neither of these actors were in attendance at this particular event, there was no lack of popular guests to meet nor things to do and see!

Guests Mark Gatiss and Una Stubbs being interviewed by Tony Lee.

Some of the headlining guests included co-creators Steven Moffat & Mark Gatiss (also one of the stars of the show as Mycroft Holmes), producer Sue Vertue, the utterly adored Andrew Scott (Moriarty), the utterly adorable Una Stubbs (Mrs. Hudson), along with guest stars including Alastair Petrie and Louis Moffat, plus production guests and more. Continue reading

Mad Hatter Day is Just My Cup of Tea

Mad Hatter pin

Mad Hatter pin

For some time, October 6th or “10/6” has been celebrated as “Mad Hatter Day” since 10/6 is part of the inscription on the sales tag tucked into the character’s hat in many traditional depictions and illustrations of this character from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The original meaning of “In This Style 10/6” was literally an advertisement of the cost of a hat of that design made by a hat-maker – ten shillings and sixpence.

So in honor of this mad occasion, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite performances of the Mad Hatter!

5) Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, 2010)

  • This version inherits Johnny Depp’s special brand of madness, being another in a string of Tim Burton’s lost, lonely, longing boys (including Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Ichabod Crane, Sweeney Todd, and Barnabas Collins). They’re all variations on a theme, made appealing by Depp’s projected vulnerability. While the shtick didn’t work quite as well in the sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, his sweet, innocent, mad sorrow still charms in the first film under the direction of Depp’s artistic soulmate, Burton.

4) Mad Hatter (Ed Wynn – voice character, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, 1951)

  • Don’t let’s be silly! One of Walt Disney’s favorite actors to work with provided not just the voice of the Mad Hatter, but also the visual reference for the animators, as well as some improvised dialogue. His comic instincts and the actor’s lisp helped define the resulting character onscreen. Charming, delightful and of course, mad as a hatter, he was the one I wanted to dance around a tea party table with as a child. But I would not trust him to fix my watch! Continue reading

Marvel TV – The Netflix Edition

While I have previously discussed my instant love for the ABC TV series Marvel’s Agent Carter and my lesser enthusiasm for ABC and Marvel’s first attempt at a TV spinoff of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., today I’m going to take a look at the first two entries into a darker corner of the Marvel universe as featured on Netflix: Daredevil and Jessica Jones.

These two shows represent the introductions of the first members of a team that will eventually come together in a mini-series event (ala what the MCU did with Avengers) called The Defenders. Both of these shows, along with their anticipated companion series that have yet to air – Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the newly-announced Punisher – are all clearly working towards a specific endgame that make their mythology in coming together a lot of fun to watch from the very beginning!

Daredevil’s first season was released in April 2015, with all episodes immediately available to view per the typical Netflix binge-watching format.

When I saw the show, I went in ready to forget the failed film version featuring Ben Affleck and I immediately was taken in by this iteration. Continue reading

Marvelous Mid-Season TV

It’s that time of year… when your favorite TV shows are all on hiatus and the networks bring out new or limited series to fill in the timeslots.

I’m very, very happy for the return of Marvel’s Agent Carter on ABC! Since the show ended its first season last year, I’ve been eagerly awaiting its comeback. And so far… so good.

The best: Peggy Carter, Edwin Jarvis, Daniel Sousa and especially Howard Stark are all in fine form! There are some terrific new characters like Calvin Chadwick (played by the always charismatically creepy Currie Graham – or the ‘Canadian Kevin Spacey’ as I’ve thought of him for years!) and Jason Wilkes (the irresistibly appealing Reggie Austin – it’s easy to see why his character would turn Peggy’s head!).

And this season they’ve finally introduced Jarvis’ wife, Ana, who is… odd… but somehow quite endearing! Her quirkiness allows forgiveness for her getting in the way of those fans who would “ship” Peggy and Jarvis as a couple.

But speaking of romantic pairings… the show does seem to be emphasizing the soap opera aspects this season, a bit more than the Alias/spy format of last season and I’ll attribute it to the new showrunners. We shall see if the plotlines pay off as well as the romance over the next few weeks!

This mid-season of television also brings back some very long-lost friends on FOX – in the form of The X-Files’ Mulder and Scully (talk about fan-beloved duos!)! Two episodes in and the show is holding up well, both for its nostalgia factor in bringing back favorites such as SPOILER AHEAD! (highlight the text ahead for some familiar faces) Walter Skinner and the Cigarette Smoking Man – as well as the entertaining alien and government conspiracy plotlines.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are as smooth together in their roles and relationship as if they’d just parted a season ago. It’s like visual comfort food to have these two back on my TV!  And hearing the memorable opening credits theme music puts a big smile on my face!

But the mid-season has wonderfully also delivered a promising new series that I’m already hooked on after one episode airing… Continue reading

A Disney Christmas Tree Lighting at Fashion Island Mall

Mousertainment Memorandum: Apologies for another late night post, but once again, I had to make an unusual weeknight Mousertainment run to the park to see a very special performance of Aladdin at Disney California Adventure – which I will report on at a later date!  But in the meantime, let’s bring on the Disney Christmastime coverage!

While the Disney Parks have been in full holiday mode for several weeks now, in Southern California the season really kicks off with an off-property event!

IMG_7499 sm wm

The Christmas Tree at Fashion Island Mall once it was officially lit.

For the past several years at the Fashion Island outdoor mall in Newport Beach, Disney has hosted the first weekend of the center’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting with performances by park entertainment and Disney characters. It is co-hosted by local television station KTLA, who also recorded the event the first weekend of November to air on Thanksgiving night.

In honor of the Disneyland 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration, the decorations this year prominently featured the 60th anniversary logos and the characters arrived decked out in their anniversary outfits. This year’s cast of characters included Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and of course, Olaf. No, they still won’t “let it go” and the Disneyland Resort utilized the event as an opportunity to promote various holiday activities in the park including Olaf’s Snow Fest.

Hiya Daisy!

Hiya Daisy!

But the reason that I went this year was to see some of the wonderful Mousertainment cast from the park singing Christmas songs (and “Let It Go”, of course) as they danced merrily around the stage. Continue reading

Once Upon a Time in Disney Parks

The book!!!

The book!!!

Probably to no one’s surprise reading this site, one of my favorite current television shows is the ABC fantasy series Once Upon a Time.

And not just because Sebastian Stan was (if only briefly, prior to his Marvel role) one of the best Mad Hatters ever! I actually wasn’t that big a fan of spinoff series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, however – although I was happy that its best character, the Knave, appeared recently on the flagship series, and I hope he returns with a good storyline.

Ads for Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland inside a Walt Disney World Resort bus.

Ads for Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland inside a Walt Disney World Resort bus.

What I really like is how Once manages to incorporate both Disney fairy tales and other classic stories yet twist them a bit into entirely new adventures. (Last season of course, it synergetically utilized Frozen’s Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and even Sven in its storyline!)

Plus, it has two of the greatest (villain? hero?) characters on television in Rumplestiltskin and Regina!

But what some folks may not realize is that Once Upon a Time has a presence at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts! Continue reading