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Happy 87th Birthday Oswald the Lucky Rabbit!
DisneyDan  Friday, September 5, 2014 6:45:02 AM
Hello everyone,

Today, 5th September, is the 87th anniversary of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit's debut in the United States.

As we all know, sadly, Oswald was lost by Disney for many years due to an unfortunate set of circumstances. However, he was returned to the Walt Disney Company in 2006 thanks to Bob Iger, and has since found his permanent home at Tokyo DisneySea's American Waterfront. In nine days time Oswald will finally come home to the US when he makes his first ever greeting debut at Walt Disney's original Disneyland Resort, on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure. Buena Vista Street is the perfect place for Oswald, as it is a monumental tribute to the early days of Walt Disney's career and his arrival in Hollywood.

We can't wait to meet Oswald on Buena Vista Street, but we have met him in Tokyo, and so I want to share some of our pictures from our trip there in May (below). You can check out our dedicated Oswald the Lucky page that has many more pictures, here.

Happy Birthday Oswald!

Dan.

Meeting Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

Meeting Oswald the Lucky Rabbit for the first time!

Meeting Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

Meeting Oswald the Lucky Rabbit for the first time!

Tokyo May 2014 - Meeting Oswald
A Grand Circle Tour of the Magic Kingdoms of the World: Part 2 - The Rhythms of the Jungle
DisneyDan  Wednesday, September 3, 2014 11:19:49 AM
Hello everyone,

In part 1 of our grand circle tour of the world's Magic Kingdoms, we toured Main Street USA and World Bazaar.
In this second part we are going to adventure into the depths of Adventureland. For reasons that will become clear later, I'll also be including New Orleans Square in this tour.

Before we begin, I just want to clarify the usage of certain names in this article. Some of you may dislike the fact I refer to each park by its location, but please bear in mind that when referring to “Disneyland”, there are actually four parks that carry that name in one way or another, and while I could type “Tokyo Disneyland”, for example, each time, it would be very time consuming. So, to avoid confusion, for the most part I will simply refer to each park by their physical location, to avoid any confusion (for example, Paris, for Disneyland Paris).

Throughout this tour you will also discover that not everywhere has a comparable experience in the other Magic Kingdom style parks, but in fact sometimes lie in other parks. Although we are comparing Adventureland overall, you will find that I throw in other parks too, where necessary, in order to show the comparable experiences.

There are many, many photos in this article, so be warned, it might take a few minutes to fully load!   [ Read More... ]
A Grand Circle Tour of the Magic Kingdoms of the World: Part 1 - Walking Right Down the Middle of Main Street USA
DisneyDan  Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:22:10 AM
Hello everyone,

I'm starting a new series here on the blog in which I aim to share my thoughts and experiences of the different lands of the Magic Kingdom style parks around the world. Think of it as the ultimate "grand circle tour of the Magic Kingdom", to coin a classic phrase!
Of course, there will be many, many photos, so be warned, this post might take a while to load!

  [ Read More... ]
Happy 59th Birthday Disneyland!
DisneyDan  Thursday, July 17, 2014 11:52:47 AM
Hello everyone,

Today (17th July) is the 59th anniversary of the grand opening of the original Disney theme park, Disneyland in Anaheim, California!

For a change, for my photo tribute, I thought I'd share with you non-character pictures. Let's celebrate and enjoy the beauty of the park itself!

Happy 59th Birthday Disneyland!

The Matterhorn

Wandering thru Adventureland

Enchanted Tiki Room

Wandering up Main Street

Christmas in New Orleans Square

Pirates of the Caribbean

Down by the Rivers of America

Tomorrowland by night

Exploring the new Fantasy Faire

Main Street by night

Main Street by night

Main Street by night

Main Street by night

"it's a small world"

Wandering thru Tomorrowland

Wandering around New Orleans Square

Wandering around Frontierland

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Wandering down Main Street

Main Street by night

Dan.
Chip 'n' Dale Critter Breakfast at Storyteller's Cafe - A Review
DisneyDan  Wednesday, November 20, 2013 1:55:16 PM
Hello everyone,

This week's restaurant review is of Chip 'n' Dale Critter Breakfast at Storyteller's Cafe, at the Disneyland Resort in California.

The restaurant is located inside Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, and can be accessed either via the hotel main entrance, the private entrance from Disney California Adventure, or by the entrance from Downtown Disney.

The Chip 'n' Dale Critter Breakfast is one of our favourite character dining experiences at any resort, and is a must-do on any trip to California, for us.
The food is served buffet style, but there are menu options available, if you wish. The buffet though has an excellent variety, and includes fruit, waffles, hot food (sausages, eggs etc), and made-to-order omelettes. It should be noted that the Mickey waffles are not on the buffet, but can be ordered through your server at no extra cost.
The food is always fresh and the hot food is always hot, which may sound like a strange thing to say, but you'd be surprised at how many buffets I've eaten at where the food is left to go cold.

Disneyland July 2012 - Chip 'n Dale Critter Breakfast at Storyteller's Cafe

Disneyland June 2011 - Chip 'n Dale Critter Breakfast

The setting and theme of the restaurant is really quite nice. There are two large dining areas, separated by the buffet in the centre.
The restaurant is designed to depict the great tales told by wise folk, and represents their stories and journeys. The restaurant continues the great American mountain lodge theme, has a very natural, earthy feel to it, and is decorated with pictures of great storytellers and adventurers.

Disneyland June 2011 - Chip 'n Dale Critter Breakfast

Exploring Storyteller's Café

Exploring Storyteller's Café

Exploring Storyteller's Café

Exploring Storyteller's Café

Exploring Storyteller's Café

Storytellers

The Characters will rotate between both dining areas, and are usually on alternating half hour sets. Seeing as it is Chip 'n' Dale's Critter Breakfast, you can nearly always guarantee that the naughty duo will be there. We have always seen them, and the breakfast is of course presented by them, but I do have good friends who ate there one time and Chip and Dale were not present! I think that is most definitely odd, and an exception to the norm.
Other characters you will find regularly include Koda, Kenai, Br'er Bear, Br'er Fox, Meeko - all of whom fit the theme nicely - and bizarrely, Terk. I'm not exactly sure how an African gorilla fits with a Northern Californian themed critter breakfast, but nonetheless, Terk is in attendance nearly every time we visit!

Chip 'n Dale's Critter Breakfast

Chip 'n Dale Critter Breakfast

Character fun at Storytellers

Chip 'n Dale's Critter Breakfast

Chip 'n Dale Critter Breakfast

Fun at Chip and Dale's Critter Breakfast

Fun at Chip and Dale's Critter Breakfast

The excellent variety of food, the great food quality and the character interactions really make for a truly wonderful breakfast to start your day in Disneyland. A magical experience that I definitely recommend.

Breakfast hours are nearly always 7am-11.25am daily. Reservations are recommended, and can be made by calling (714) 781-3463 up to 60 days prior to your visit, by clicking on the official Disneyland Resort website, by visiting guest relations at either theme park, or directly at the restaurant itself.
Prices start at $27.99 plus tax for an adult buffet, or $13.99 plus tax for children aged nine and under. All other options and drinks are extra. The full menu is available on the Disneyland Resort website. Annual Passholders receive a maximum of 15% off the total, depending on which AP they have.

It should be noted that Storyteller's Cafe does offer lunch and dinner, but these are not character dining experiences, and we have not experienced them, as of yet.

You can leave your comments and ask questions by clicking here and being magically transported to our forums.

Dan.

Fun at Chip and Dale's Critter Breakfast

Exploring Storyteller's Café

Chip 'n Dale's Critter Breakfast

Chip 'n Dale's Critter Breakfast

Exploring Storyteller's Café
News and Rumours from Around the World: Anna and Elsa appear at Hollywood Studios, Talking Mickey now at Magic Kingdom, and much more!
DisneyDan  Tuesday, October 22, 2013 1:26:00 PM
Hello everyone,

Apologies for the long gap between blog posts again, but if you follow us on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram or Twitter, you'll know that we were in Disneyland Paris last week for their Halloween Season.
You can check out my album of pictures I uploaded yesterday to Facebook, here. You can also go through our wall photos to see what we uploaded live while we were away!

The big news yesterday was that Mickey Mouse has now taken the bold step of talking live to guests who visit him at Town Square Theater in the Magic Kingdom! Up until now, Mickey has only ever spoken live during shows and parades, and has made rare appearances at his meet 'n' greet location, which have always been unannounced. But, now, you can meet him daily at the the Magic Kingdom in his dapper new magicians outfit, and talk directly to the Big cheese himself!
Our friends at the Unofficial Disney Character Hunting Guide have already met him, and uploaded this video (click link to view on their Facebook page).

Staying with Walt Disney World, and today Anna and Elsa, characters from Disney's brand new movie 'Frozen' began greeting guests at Hollywood Studios!
This is the very first time they have met guests publicly. You can check out a photo of them on the Where Magic Lives Facebook page.

Jumping across the county to California, and rather suddenly, the popular show Minnie's Fly Girls, at Disney California Adventure ended last week. As far as fans are aware, there was no real reason given, it just happened! It was a fun show, and certainly brought some energy to the Condor Flats area of the park.

I have been really busy lately, and haven't updated the website as much as I would have liked to, but I have ten days off from this Friday, so next week I hope to make a lot of updates, refresh a bunch of pages, and if all goes to plan, officially launch the third in our excellent Trip Planner series - this time for California! When it's launched I'll make an announcement on Facebook and Twitter, so watch out for that!

Ok, I think that's everything for this evening. Have a good week everyone.

Dan.
Halloween News for Disney Cruise Line and Disneyland Paris, and more!
DisneyDan  Wednesday, July 17, 2013 2:13:30 PM
Hello everyone,

Today the Disney Parks Blog announced that for Halloween Season this year aboard all ships sailing between late September and the end of October would feature Halloween costume parties with the Disney characters, as well as other small entertainment and food offerings.
On the Disney Dream though, they seem to be going a bit further, and for the first time there will be a special programme of entertainment specifically for that ship, which includes a full deck party/show titled 'Mickey's Calling All the Monsters Mouse-Querade Deck Party', greetings with Jack and Sally, and Halloween storytelling with a "mysterious Sea Captain" (I wonder if Captain Hook will show up?...).
The whole event will be called Halloween on the High Seas.

The Blog promised that an announcement about Christmas on the ships would come tomorrow - we look forward to hearing what new things they'll be offering!

Staying with Halloween, and French forum ameworld posted what appears to be an official statement from Disney regarding Halloween this year, though Disney themselves haven't released anything yet. The news is that the Castle Stage show Mickey's Halloween Treat in the Street will not return for a third year, but instead we will see a brand new Halloween cavalcade that will feature Mickey and friends, including Huey, Dewey, Louie, Scrooge McDuck and for what is believed to be the first time ever at DLP, Clarabelle Cow!
All other regular Halloween elements are expected to return, such as meeting the Disney characters in special costumes including a brand new location for Minnie, and the return of Bon Bon Goofy in Town Square, greetings with the ever popular Disney Villains, Jack and Sally in Frontierland, and all the cool decorations that usually feature throughout the park. Disney's Halloween Party will also feature on 31st October, as it always does.
Jon and I will be at DLP for Halloween Season again this year and cannot wait to see the new cavalcade!

Finally, today is Disneyland in California's 58th Birthday, and so if you're going to be there, or thinking about going, you should know that there will be "something special" happening Town Square at 2.30pm Pacific Standard Time this afternoon! In the past these celebrations have usually involved a rededication of sorts, and a vast number of random Disney characters appearing for a brief time (flashmob style).

Ok, I think that's everything for now. I'll try to make an update tomorrow when we hear from Disney about the winter Cruise offerings.

Dan.
Happy 58th Birthday Disneyland!
DisneyDan  Wednesday, July 17, 2013 11:51:59 AM
Hello everyone,

Today (17th July) is the 58th anniversary of the grand opening of the original Disney theme park, Disneyland in Anaheim, California!

For a change, for my photo tribute, I thought I'd share with you non-character pictures. Let's celebrate and enjoy the beauty of the park itself!

Happy 58th Birthday Disneyland!

The Matterhorn

Wandering thru Adventureland

Enchanted Tiki Room

Wandering up Main Street

Christmas in New Orleans Square

Pirates of the Caribbean

Down by the Rivers of America

Tomorrowland by night

Exploring the new Fantasy Faire

Main Street by night

Main Street by night

Main Street by night

Main Street by night

"it's a small world"

Wandering thru Tomorrowland

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Wandering down Main Street

Main Street by night

Dan.
Disneyland Resort Christmas 2012 Trip Report - Part Two
DisneyDan  Sunday, January 27, 2013 10:00:09 AM
Hello everyone,

Sorry this has taken me a bit longer than I had anticipated, but of course life gets in the way! Anyway, here we are at part two of my Christmas trip report!
You can check out part one here, which was all about Disneyland Park.

Before we move on to the hotels and Disney California Adventure, there are a few additional things that I wanted to mention for Disneyland.

We were sad that this year Disneyland had axed the reindeer that used to feature at the ranch. In the past they had featured at Santa's Reindeer Round-up, which this year became the Jingle Jangle Jamboree. Overall this was a positive move, as the characters were still on Main Street, and Santa was still at the ranch, but additionally there were more Christmas characters at the ranch too. Besides losing the reindeer, Santa used to also appear after Christmas in a "post-Christmas" outfit, since Christmas is over. This year though, they decided that Santa would not appear. Instead, what they did was change Mickey and Minnie's outfits for after Christmas. Before Christmas they wore traditional, almost Victorian wear, after Christmas they sported neat Santa and Mrs Claus outfits. So, overall not a bad change. No Santa, but some really cute outfits.
One really annoying thing we discovered also, is that Disneyland are REALLY fussy about the weather. We travel a lot to all the parks, especially Florida and Paris, and the rain, and even snow in DLP, doesn't seem to affect things too much unless it's really serious. At DL though, the second there was the slightest inkling of some small drops from the sky, that was it. Ranch closed, characters cancelled. I am all for safety, but honestly, if you had seen the way they over reacted, it was ridiculous.

Similarly on the Santa situation, Santa at DCA disappeared after Christmas too, and did not return like in the past (we'll come to him shortly though).

While we're still at Disneyland, although not Christmas related, we did get to meet Ralph and Vanellope from the new Wreck-It-Ralph movie, which was neat.

Ralph

Vanellope

We also, for the first time, had dinner at the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ. We had intended to eat here in the past, but for one reason or another, it had never happened.
I have to say that I really enjoyed it. The live entertainment were good, and while they normally have a band there, they were especially festive for the season. Oh, and make sure you order the dessert! (I think it was called a S'mores Bake, or something)...

Dinner at Big Thunder Ranch BBQ

Dinner at Big Thunder Ranch BBQ

Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree

Something randomly that I thought of also, regarding "snow". At Walt Disney World, during the Christmas parade when it is travelling down Main Street, it snows. At Disneyland Paris, during the Christmas Cavalcade, and at intervals throughout the day, everyday, it snows. So, I don't understand why Disneyland only snowed at night during the Castle Lighting or the Christmas fireworks. I realise this shouldn't bug me too much, but would it have killed them to have it snow when Santa was heading down Main Street atop his sleigh? Just a thought.

One last thing before we head to the hotels, Downtown Disney and finally DCA, is about some things we heard while in DL. On many - far TOO many - occasions this trip we heard things like "because Florida say no", "because Florida don't allow it", and so on. It seems that gradually WDW are trying to somehow cripple everything that DL do. Every time we asked why something had changed, why something wasn't as nice or good any more, why something had to be cancelled - you name it - the answer was that Florida didn't like it. Maybe now that Meg Crofton is being inched out the door, things might change a little, but only time will tell.
The other thing we heard a few times is that to everyone's great sadness, it might appear that this would be the last real year for Christmas season as we know it in DL. Once again Florida want their way, and Christmas sounds like it might be ticketed, like it is at the Magic Kingdom. That would be a heavy loss indeed. I am glad we went this past year to experience it fully, before the magic is sold out to hard ticket events.

Ok, so that's enough about Disneyland, now we shall take a stroll through Downtown Disney and the resort hotels, before heading into DCA!

For the new Tinker Bell movie about the winter, and because it is winter, Downtown Disney featured an ice skating rink for the Christmas period. Other than that, and some regular decorations, there wasn't too much in the way of Christmas offerings at DTD, not that we saw at least.

At the resort hotels, before Christmas Day they had Santa greeting in the evenings in their main lobbies. We managed to meet Santa at the Grand Californian and DL Hotel, but not the Paradise Pier.
The hotels looked pretty with their large Christmas trees in their lobbies, and the restaurants had gingerbread houses made by the in-house chefs.

Meeting Santa

Meeting Santa

Christmas at Goofy's Kitchen

Ok, so we shall step in to Disney California Adventure now, and discover their festive line-up.

It was DCA's first Christmas with it's shiny new look. Buena Vista Street, Cars Land and all the other things that they had re-launched earlier in 2012 got another chance to shine with the decor and lights of Christmas.

The decorations on BVS and Cars Land were really nice, and felt appropriate and not too overdone. The rest of the park didn't have too many decorations, but here and there were some small things, that just added a nice touch.

Christmas in Cars Land

Wandering down Buena Vista Street

Wandering down Buena Vista Street

Wandering down Buena Vista Street

Wandering thru Cars Land

Wandering thru Bugs Land

Wandering thru Cars Land

Christmas on Buena Vista Street

There was some new entertainment offerings for Christmas too, including the really talented Community Bell Ringers.
The other regular park bands played seasonal tunes, too, and the Phineas and Ferb mini-show had a small Christmas overlay.
Of course there were all the normal things that you would expect for the holidays, such as treats and merchandise. Some of the DCA Christmas merchandise was actually really nice.

Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers

Over at Hollywood Land, they had switched the Muppets 3D movie for the new Prep and Landing short film. We got to see it twice, which was good as we got to sit in the warm, and see a decent Disney movie in 3D for free!

Prep and Landing

One other main thing that they did, oddly though only on select days, was the Holiday Tree Lighting in Carthay Circle.
This little show in front of the large Christmas tree involved the characters, Citizens of Buena Vista Street and the Bell Ringers coming together and lighting the tree.

The Buena Vista Street Community Bell Ringers

Christmas on Buena Vista Street

It was a pretty touch, but for some reason they didn't do it every night, and it ended on Christmas Eve, which is weird since they call the entire season Holiday Time (note the lack of actually being Christmas), and their "Holiday Time" runs until 6th January. The least they could have done is lit the tree on Christmas Day itself, but nope, it ended on Christmas Eve. Odd.

Now we come to characters at DCA for the Holidays.
On Buena Vista Street, Mickey, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale all had festive alterations to their BVS outfits. Milly/Molly the Messenger, Phi Phi the Photographer and Donna the Dog Lady got a few small additions too.

Character fun on Buena Vista Street

Character fun on Buena Vista Street

Character fun on Buena Vista Street

Character fun on Buena Vista Street

Character fun on Buena Vista Street

Meeting Mickey Mouse

Over in Cars Land Tow Mater had a large Santa hat on (but not McQueen though), and at Paradise Pier Donald and Duffy had Christmas clothes too.

Donald Duck

Duffy

Christmas Mater

Of course no Christmas would be complete without Santa, and he was available up until Christmas Eve at Elias and Co, in a traditional America department store setting, along with some Elf helpers.

Meeting Santa

One of Santa's Elves

Lastly we come to New Year's Eve. We had decided that our best option would probably be to stay over at DCA because, honestly, we had experienced Disneyland on busy days, and that was bad enough. Add New Year into the equation and you get a whole other level of insanity! DCA provides larger open areas, wider walkways and generally less intensity of craziness than DL park (generally, not always!).
We actually ended up making the right decision, because really, honestly, compared to what DL Park had been the few days leading up to New Year, DCA was a BREEZE. We were pleasantly surprised how quiet it was. We wandered around and checked out the special New Year entertainment, which consisted of three bands. One country rock in Cars Land, and two jazz (one on BVS and the other in Paradise Pier). I'm not a fan of jazz and found them quite dull, especially the one on BVS, but that's just me.

Kelly and the Radiator Springs Rockers

Boringness

Wandering thru Paradise Pier

I think that overall the bands and entertainment for New Year's Eve could have been a bit better, but the best was yet to come!
For the turn of the year there was a breathtaking spectacular on Paradise Bay, with lasers, fireworks, fountains, music and an energy that really brought the park to a roaring climax, before they followed it up with a full presentation of World of Color.

New Year Fireworks

New Year Fireworks

New Year Fireworks

World of Color

Over at Disneyland they would never been able to achieve what they did at DCA simply because of the setting, surroundings and size. DL wouldn't have the fountains, and probably no-where near as many lasers, if any (has anyone ever seen lasers used in DL for spectaculars? Let me know!).
If we are ever back at DLR for New Year we would definitely chose DCA again. I can't imagine at the end of the night how horrendous the crowds must have been. Getting out of DCA was relatively easy. DL was at capacity, and we know from previous experience - on a non-New Year's event - that even if it gets remotely crowded the park grinds to a miserable halt. We made the right choice for sure!

Well, that concludes this report. We really enjoyed Christmas ("Holiday Time") at Disneyland Resort, and definitely recommend it. We just hope that they continue to add things to the season, and they manage to stave off Florida's advances regarding the ticketed Christmas!

Dan.
Disneyland Resort Christmas 2012 Trip Report - Part One
DisneyDan  Friday, January 11, 2013 12:41:14 PM
Hello everyone!

I know this is a little delayed, but of course since getting back, we have been ever busy!

Anyway, here we are at my Christmas 2012 Trip Report for Disneyland California!

We of course have visited DL a lot, and I have done reports before, so as not to repeat myself, this report is going to be solely about their Christmas offerings, as it was the first time I had been for to DLR for the holidays.

We were lucky enough to have a glorious 10 days in California this time around, and we certainly enjoyed every moment of it. Since we were there for so long, we were also able to take a trip out to Universal Studios Hollywood, to experience their Christmas stuff, which you can read about in my recent report here.

Ok, so the easiest way to go about this is to just talk about each thing one by one.
First up, decorations, music and atmosphere!  [ Read More... ]
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