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 year ago this week, the Diamond Mad T Party iteration of the Mad T Party at Disney California Adventure closed. So for the past several days, much of the T fandom has been in a reflective mood – some leaning towards mourning again, others towards nostalgia. Still others expressed gratitude for what we had and how the community has continued in the wake of the end of a show that touched so many lives for its four years of existence.
Closing T-ime – March 30, 2016.
Yesterday I wandered over to T’s former home in the Hollywood Backlot area – currently mostly filled with Food & Wine Festival décor like a food booth, a soundstage with merchandise, and a culinary demonstration set up on the former T dance stage. I also saw what looked like a temporary new stage set up to accommodate the visiting performing school bands while the dance stage is currently occupied. (Although some have theorized that perhaps this could be the new location for the upcoming entertainment for the Summer of Heroes.)
Temporary performing stage in the Hollywood Backlot.
You’ll notice next to that stage the remnants of the House of Cards bar still stands, a lone reminder of what used to be here.
Also from Hollywood Land (and really from just about everywhere in the Disneyland Resort), you can see the rising/evolving Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT overlay engulfing the former Tower of Terror. Another stark reminder that the Resort will always evolve – whether you like it or not. 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!
Today we’ll spotlight another wonderful Disney Parks (and home!) service that not many people know about: Disney Floral & Gifts!
Did you know that you could have flowers sent to your Disney Parks Resort Hotel at either the Disneyland Resort or the Walt Disney World Resort?
How about Christmas stockings or even a Christmas tree?!
How about having your ENTIRE HOTEL ROOM decorated by Disney magical helpers and filled with Disney merchandise?
It can be done! With the help of the Disney Floral & Gifts Dream Makers team…
This is probably the best Disney service I’ve never actually had the opportunity to experience – but hope to someday!
At the Disneyland Resort, they offer options currently ranging from the $43.95 Minnie Magical Moment roses in a vase all the way up to Mickey and Minnie’s Grand Magical Welcome – Family featuring in-room decorations and gifts for $549.95. While at the Walt Disney World Resort, you can find anything from a Pixie Dusted Rainbow rose wand for $45.95 up to Mickey & Friends Ultimate Birthday Celebration featuring in-room decorations and gifts for $548.95.
The Dream Makers can also create a custom assortment for any occasion. But really, they seem to have something for everyone! Continue reading
In honor of the birthday of the Mouse that started it all, I thought today would be a good day to run through some of the places where you can see and/or meet with Mickey Mouse himself at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.
I’d suggest trying some of these spots!
- Mickey Mouse can often be spotted in Town Square on Main Street, USA doing a Meet & Greet with guests. But the best place to find him for daily Meet & Greets is in Mickey’s House in ToonTown!
Mickey Mouse March!
- Mickey Mouse joins the Disneyland Band and the Dapper Dans in a March-Along held generally around late morning or lunchtime each day. While the March-Along is usually announced over the loudspeakers a few minutes beforehand in Town Square, your best bet is to check at City Hall in the morning to ask when it will happen. Mickey also participates in the Soundsational parade (and seasonally he can currently be seen in A Christmas Fantasy Parade).
Mickey says hi in his Mapmaker outfit!
- Mickey and the Magical Map – watch Mickey Mouse learn the secrets of the map in this wonderful musical theatrical adventure as he aspires to become a fully-fledged mapmaker!
Check your daily Entertainment Times Guide or the Disneyland app for the schedules for the parades and showtimes. Continue reading
I first saw these wonderful creations at the Walt Disney World Resort, where custodial Cast Members would use water to animate Disney characters along the walkways of the Resort.
It wasn’t until last year around the holiday time that I finally saw Cast Members at the Disneyland Resort had learned the same skills!
One night I was walking around Paradise Pier in Disney California Adventure when I came across these!
Minnie Loves Mickey!
They can be easy to miss seeing – especially if you’re not looking for them – and many guests simply walked right across these beautiful pieces of art!
Yes, Cheshire Cat WAS the one I spied first. Wonderland radar. I can’t help it!
And though they can be challenging to see (and photograph!), I was thrilled to finally spot some at the Disneyland Resort!
Sulley from Monsters Inc.!
That said, while admittedly I haven’t looked too regularly for more, I hadn’t seen any more since then either. But in the oddest bit of serendipity, two weeks ago I was again walking around Paradise Pier at night and thinking to myself, “what a shame they haven’t done more of the water paintings – I loved seeing those!” When what should I come across not two minutes later??? Continue reading
“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.
Even under stormy skies, Cinderella’s Castle is beautiful to behold!
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