Moana brings characters to be proud of in a classic Disney Animated film.
The film is built around lead character Moana’s journey to find her purpose in life as she crosses the ocean on her quest to return prosperity to the islands. From the start of the film, Moana is told by her father to stay away from the dangerous ocean. But to Moana, the ocean is not dangerous. Rather, it has called for her, her entire life. My favorite scene of the film comes early on when the ocean itself is given a personality as it interacts with baby Moana. You can see a clip of that here.
After an event pushes Moana to go out to sea, the story really kicks off as the character openly copes with her fears of leaving home and a feeling of being part of something bigger than herself. There is no weeping princess unable to help herself here though. Moana conquers her fears quickly and stares danger in the face with her bravery and determination to succeed. She is a role model we should all look to when faced with challenges.
In the film, Moana searches for Maui the demigod, who is played by Dwayne Johnson. This larger than life character seems to really reflect many of the other characters that Johnson has played in the past. Watch the Game Plan again after seeing Moana and you will really know what I am talking about. After being introduced as self centered, we see Maui evolve as he becomes friends with Moana and finds his own value in life.
Together Moana and Maui go on a journey to restore life to Oceania. In doing so, they are pushed together and become friends who respect each other. Unlike the classic princess finding her prince story, this movie centers on finding a true friend and supporting one another.
Moana is perhaps the most beautiful Disney animated CGI film yet. The visuals of the water and islands are incredible, creating a lush depiction of our fantasy of the Pacific Islands. This movie serves as a powerful tourism advertisement for the Pacific Islands making me just want to hop on a plane for the islands as soon as possible. (Who’s ready for an Aulani-Disney Resort in Hawaii tie in?)
Concept artwork for islands in Moana.
The soundtrack features a collaboration between Lin-Manuel Miranda, the name you know from Hamilton on Broadway. He worked with Opetaia Tavita Foa’I founder of the band Te Vaka, which has traveled internationally spreading the message of the Pacific Islands and Mark Mancina, the composer behind many classics like the Tarzan animated film and tune for the classic Disney castle logo. The music throughout is quite enjoyable to listen to and there are a few standout songs like How Far I’ll Go, Moana’s equivalent song to Ariel’s Part of Your World.
Overall, Moana was a worthwhile film full of stunning visuals and admirable characters.
I was invited to an advanced screening of the film on The Walt Disney Studio lot.
Annual Passports to Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida can be very expensive. These year long passes are rarely discounted to the general public beyond certain passes with lots of block out dates.
There is a powerful hack to save money on your Disney Parks Annual Passports. This hack has been referred to as…
The computer systems of authorized third party resellers, like Get Away Today (our recommended authorized ticket reseller and partner with Disneyland for over 26 years), do not share the price paid for tickets. When you present your ticket to upgrade to an annual passport, it is assumed that you paid full face value for the ticket, even though with this strategy you will have purchased the ticket at a steep discount.
Here are 6 easy steps to save money on your Annual Passports. See all of the different options of annual passports on our Disneyland tickets page or our Walt Disney World tickets page.
6 Steps to Save Money on Disney Annual Passports
Go to our recommended ticket reseller, Get Away Today. (I negotiated a special rate with Get Away Today exclusively for our readers. These are the best rates you will find for Disney tickets online.)
Write out the entire transaction. Calculate the amount that you should be credited for your tickets, the price of the annual passport you want to purchase, and the final difference you will have to pay in order to upgrade your ticket to an annual passport. Once you have all this written out, you may proceed.
Go to a guest relations window with your ticket. Visit one of the Guest Relations desks at the park and request to upgrade your ticket to an Annual Passport.
Check the amount the Cast Member is giving you with your notes from step #3. Ticket bridging is an uncommon transaction for a Cast Member to complete and may be confusing. Make sure that everything is lining up correctly and that you are getting the full value for your ticket. If the Cast Member isn’t able to assist you, a supervisor or “lead” nearby will be able to help you complete the purchase. If they are unable to help, visit a different Guest Relations window.
Pay the difference between the ticket price and annual passport price with a Disney gift card you got for 5% off. To take this ticket bridging to the next level. You can pay the difference of your ticket price with a Disney Gift Card you purchased for a discount. See info here on how to get 10% off when you purchase a Disney gift card.
Assuming all has gone well, you should have a fully functioning Disney Annual Passport. Enjoy your ticket.
Share this method if you think any of your friends would find it helpful.
Let’s take a look at this model in action…
I’ll use an upgrade from the five day Disneyland park hopper ticket to the Disneyland Signature Annual Passport as an example. The five day park hopper ticket is worth $335 and the Annual Passport costs $849. You would pay the difference between the two tickets which is $514. If you used the Disney gift card to pay this difference you could get 10% off the difference. You could save $51.40 from using the Disney gift card in addition to the $24 you saved by purchasing the discount ticket. In total you would save $75.40 on your Disneyland Annual Passport when you upgrade a discounted ticket to the Signature Annual Passport.
The final cost of the Annual Passport for Walt Disney World will be even less because of the steeper discount on tickets and lower price for Annual Passports in Florida.
Answers to Frequently Asked Upgrading Questions
Can you apply the Disney Vacation Club discount?
Yes, this price bridging can be applied to the discounted Disney Vacation Club Annual Passport rates.
Can you use the discount with Annual Pass renewals?
Yes, you can use this price bridging strategy on Annual Passport renewals.
Are you sure this strategy works at Disneyland?!?
Other websites have said that price bridging only works at Walt Disney World in Florida. They claimed this was because Disneyland coded the price you actually paid, i.e. the discounted rate, onto the physical ticket. This means that the price bridging strategy does not work for most ticket resellers.
Get Away Today does not fall into this trap because they have the ability to sell you a Disney e-ticket which falls directly into the Disney Parks computer system. You just have to pick up the ticket at the ticket booth and then proceed to Guest Relations. There is no distinguishing marking on these tickets and you will be given full value for the tickets.
Does this work for Universal Studios Hollywood?
Unfortunately, this ticket upgrading technique does not work with discount Universal Studios Hollywood tickets. I have heard conflicting stories about ticket bridging using these tickets. Most likely, they would be able to see how much you paid for the ticket and just credit you that amount, however that may not even be possible. You should be able to find a good deal for Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Passports on our Universal Studios discount tickets page.
Planning a Disney Parks Vacation?
I have a whole guide to saving money at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Universal Studios at MickeyVisit.com.
Disney Parks and Resorts are changing their policies all the time. For now, this strategy works well and can get you a fantastic discount on your annual passports, but it could change in the future. This is editorial content, use at your own risk.
Disneyland opened over 60 years ago and now holds hundreds of secrets that are waiting to be unlocked. Learning these hidden stories of the parks is the perfect way to celebrate the 60th anniversary.
Below I have thirteen secrets from the book to share with you. These stories were all collected from interviews (many on the Disney Dose podcast) with Cast Members, previous Disneyland history reading, or time spent roaming Disneyland.
The below are excerpts from the book.
#13 Secrets of the Walt and Mickey Partners Statue
The Partners statue, unveiled in the central hub in 1993 and portraying Walt Disney holding hands with Mickey Mouse looking out toward the future, has several easily missed references to Walt.
According to Disney Historian Jim Korkis: On Walt’s tie there is a small insignia for the Smoke Tree Ranch in Palm Springs, California. Disney had a house there and had the logo stitched into many of his ties. On Walt’s right hand there’s a Claddagh ring in honor of his Irish heritage. Both Walt and his wife, Lillian, purchased Claddagh rings during their 1948 trip to Ireland and wore them often.
#12 The queue of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is lined with big battery boxes.
Many of these props are labeled Glendale, California, USA. The batteries pay tribute to the home of Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative team of people behind everything in the Disney parks.
#11 A famous, non-Disney character is featured inside Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Behind the middle window of the constabulary is the silhouette of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. He can be seen on your upper left just after leaving the pub room.
#10 “Swisskapolka,” the theme song from the original Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse attraction, still plays on a phonograph in the upper room of the treehouse.
This song, which I guarantee will be stuck in your head by the time you leave the treehouse, was a staple for the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse theme remains in Walt Disney World.
#9 On the King Arthur Carrousel, one horse is more decorated than the others.
The white horse with the collar that reads “Honorary Ambassador” was dedicated to Julie Andrews for her Disney film work and for her stint as as the official Disneyland ambassador during the 50th Anniversary of the park. The horse is decorated with touches from her most popular film, Mary Poppins.
#8 The original Disneyland Submarine Voyage was comprised of eight submarines.
Based on world rankings at the time, this made Walt Disney the commander of the eighth largest submarine fleet in the world.
#7 Real logs were used to build the fort on Tom Sawyer’s Island.
To transport these full-sized tree logs to the island, they were floated across the river similar to the way that logs were transported in old-fashioned wood mills.
#6 A majority of the mining equipment throughout the queue and attraction of Big Thunder Mountain is authentic.
Imagineers searched swap meets, abandoned mines, and ghosts towns throughout Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, and Minnesota to find enough authentic equipment. This attraction’s development was led creatively by Imagineer Tony Baxter, who you can hear in a group discussion on this episode of the Disney Dose podcast.
#5 A large spider web festoons the ballroom in the Haunted Mansion.
This web was added when a guest with a slingshot made a hole in the large glass panels that separate the hallway from the ballroom. The glass is built into the foundation of the Haunted Mansion, so it would be impossible to remove without lifting the roof off the building.
You can still see the crack in the Disneyland Halloween “Nightmare Before Christmas” version of the attraction.
#4 The flames in the Pirates of the Caribbean looked too real for the Anaheim Fire Department.
The flames in the Pirates of the Caribbean look so real that the Anaheim Fire Department was concerned they would not be able to tell the difference between the real and faux flames during an emergency. Even though they realized that it was all part of the show, a special system was put in place to shut off the burning town effect in the case of an actual fire.
#3 Three trees along the backdrop of Toontown behind Minnie’s house form the letters WDI.
WDI stands for Walt Disney Imagineering. They are the team of designers who create everything that is included in the Disney theme parks around the world.
#2 Inside the Pirates of the Caribbean there is a real skull on the headboard.
When the attraction first opened, all of the skeleton heads were real. They were purchased from the UCLA Medical Center. The only remaining real skeleton can be found in the treasure room on the headboard of the bed.
#1 The final plans for the Jungle Cruise were made on the Disneyland construction site, by Imagineer Harper Goff.
He used a sandbox to sculpt the sand into the shapes of the jungle river. Once completed, the bulldozers replicated the sandy forms he created with his feet.
Stuff Even Mickey Doesn’t Know
When a theme park has been around for 60 years, it hides a lot of secrets. I have swept aside the pixie dust and uncovered little-known stories about the happiest place on earth that will make you a master of the magic.
In the book I develop each of his dozens of secrets into a brief story that illuminates a forgotten moment in Disney history, or sheds light on a neglected area of the park, or reveals something new about an iconic attraction, such as:
Why is the address of Disneyland 1313 Harbor Boulevard?
What’s up with the Jewish menorah on Main Street?
Why is there a fake book called “Walt & You” at City Hall?
Where can you find Sherlock Holmes at Disneyland?
Is there really a pet cemetery at the Haunted Mansion?
Shhh! It’s a Disneyland secret. Until you read this book…
Juliana Hansen, one of the stars of the now closed Aladdin: Musical Spectacular joins us on this episode of the Disney Dose podcast. On the show we discuss the incredible joy she found in playing the character and all of the other work she has performed for The Walt Disney Company.
And for more information on One Starry Night to ALS, click here.
Special Thanks to You:
The Disney Dose Podcast is an incredible joy for me to put together. I apologize for the long silence between the last show and this one. As one commentor said, I have not “dropped off the face of the earth.” I am headed to college in a couple of weeks and will continue to provide value for you when I can. In between shows find more on our Facebook page. If you enjoy the show, please leave a review on iTunes. Please feel free to send me an email: GAVIN @ Disney Dose .com
There is a very likely rumor circulating that the “Disneyland Forever” fireworks show will go on hiatus when the Disneyland Diamond Celebration ends on September 5, 2016. The show would be replaced by Halloween and Christmas specific firework shows. Beyond the 2016 Christmas season, not much is known.
During the Halloween season at the park, the “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks will be shown on regular park nights and the special “Halloween Screams” will be shown during the popular Mickey’s Halloween Party. When the Christmas season begins at Disneyland, we will once again get to see the “Believe in Holiday Magic” fireworks show on select nights throughout the season. As of now, only the “Halloween Screams” fireworks show has been confirmed.
It is less clear what, if any, fireworks show will be put on at the beginning of 2017. The smaller “Fantasy in the Sky” show may be featured. There are other rumors circulating that all fireworks shows may be put on hold as a new launch pattern is devised that would move any threats out of the way of Star Wars Land. If no new launch plan is decided on, the current launch plan would force Star Wars Land to close early with Toontown every night. The current launch area and control booth is backstage behind Toontown and on certain windier nights can have a high impact on nearby guest areas. Having Star Wars Land close early seems very unlikely. The current fireworks plan and safety procedures will change as they prepare to unveil the new Star Wars Land to the public.
Until recently, it was believed that the “Disneyland Forever” fireworks show would run continuously for years in the same way that the 50th anniversary fireworks show, “Remember Dreams Come True,” ran for over ten years. Apparently, the decision to end “Disneyland Forever” and switch back to the “Fantasy in the Sky” show was actually budgetary, according to the initial report by WDWNT.
Disneyland Public Relations declined to comment, but suggested that more information will be presented in the coming weeks.
Just like a firework being blown by the Santa Monica winds high above Disneyland, these plans will continue to float around and change. Remember, these are all just rumors until they are set in stone and put on the Disneyland website.
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There is lots changing at Disneyland as they prepare for the vertical construction of Star Wars Land and the relaunching of “Fantasmic!” in coming months. Join our Disney Dose newsletter to stay updated on all the rumors, news, secrets, and stories coming out of Disneyland.
The brand new Shanghai Disneyland Resort opens June 16 to the general public. Certain invited guests and families of cast members will be visiting the park for the six weeks leading up to the official opening of the resort.
Meaning of course that…
We have photos for you from these preview days so that even though you may not be able to make it to Shanghai to see the new park anytime soon, you will be able to get a great sense of the resort.
The new resort consists of the main Disneyland park, Disneytown shopping district, sprawling Wishing Star park, Disneyland Hotel, and Toy Story Hotel. Inside the park are six themed lands: Adventure Isle, Gardens of Imagination, Mickey Avenue, Tomorrowland, Treasure Cove and Fantasyland, all centered around the Enchanted Storybook Castle, the largest castle at any Disney theme park.
Now, without further ado…
Shanghai Disneyland in 68 Breathtaking Photos and Videos
Even though there is no in park railroad, the entrance to the theme park is a tunnel below a building that looks quite a bit like the train station cresting the entrances to the original Disney theme parks.
Upon entering the park, you are hit with an incredible view of Disney’s largest castle.
Rather than a traditional Main Street, Shanghai Disneyland features Mickey Avenue, a new area featuring homes and shops inspired by various Disney characters and films.
Mickey Mouse leads the Disneyland Band in popular tunes. One of their sets even includes Pharrell William’s “Happy.” Slightly different than the Americana or Disney centric tunes you would find in all of the other Disney theme parks.
This was an interesting choice to use this staue rather than the more classic “Partners” statue that is featured at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Rather than the traditional Fantasyland, Shanghai has the Dumbo attraction and the carousel in front of the castle in the Gardens of Imagination.
Also in front of the castle are Disney character murals representing the Chinese zodiac symbols.
The Shanghai Disneyland Storybook Castle is the largest Disney castle in the world. The beautiful fixtures and murals are worthy of any royal family.
In Shanghai, Tomorrowland is designed to more of a Sci-Fi future than a realistic one. The entire land is centered around an incredible Tron lightcycle attraction. You can also find a totally reimagined Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Jet Pack spinner, and character meet and greets.
Check out a full ride through of the Tron attraction.
In Fantasyland behind the castle, you can find the top hits from the US parks, plus a couple of brand new attractions that do not disappoint.
The Voyage of the Crystal Grotto is one of the headline acts of the land. During this boat ride, guests will encounter beautiful displays featuring characters and magical water fountains brought to life. For the finale of the attraction, your boat takes you deep under the castle in the mysterious Crystal Grotto.
You really need to see the full ride video to understand the full magnitude of the attraction.
The ever popular Peter Pan attraction kicks off in Shanghai featuring enhanced storytelling elements and even larger ride vehicles.
You can see the full ride video of Peter Pan below.
Interestingly, the Imagineers chose to use the live action Alice in Wonderland film, rather than the animated Disney classic as the basis for the Alice in Wonderland maze.
This park is host to the first ever Tangled themed restaurant.
Also, Disney just couldn’t resist sticking Frozen somewhere in the park. A translated version of the US and French Frozen sing-along shows can be found in Fantasyland.
The Adventure Isle is one of the most highly anticipated areas of the park. The Roaring Rapids attraction which has yet to be opened for previews is one of the few attractions in the park that isn’t based on existing intellectual property. This huge water rapids ride will feature a gigantic alligator monster inside the mountain. This attraction is sure to impress.
Disney has also taken another fan favorite, Soarin’ Over California, and created a worldwide version. Soaring Over the Horizon combines music featuring riffs from the original attraction with breathtaking new footage.
You can see a full video of Soaring Over the Horizon below.
Also located in the area is a Tarzan acrobatic show.
For the first time ever there is an entire land centered around the Pirates of the Caribbean story. Featuring pirates around every corner, Treasure Cove is a detailed world filled with trinkets and details worthy of the greatest swashbucklers.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle For the Sunken Treasure is the first attraction to ever be built from the ground up around the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Now, we can say that the original Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean attraction inspired a film which then inspired sequels, which in turn inspired the creation of a new attraction.
And, this new attraction does not disappoint. The cutting edge ride system utilizes breathtaking technological advances and hypersensitive ride vehicles to create an experience only possible with the perfect syncronization of tech and story elements.
You can see a full video of the incredible attraction below.
That concludes our full tour of Shanghai Disneyland Park. Below are pictures from the Disneyland Hotel, Toy Story Hotel, and Disneytown Shopping District.
The extravagant hotel is modeled on Art Noveau stylings with touches of Disney magic throughout.
The exclusive Club 33 appears to have an outpost in Shanghai. From the little information we have received thus far, I know that the Club will not be linked to the US club and will be a very expensive membership. Most likely the club will be used specifically to entertain corporate and government sponsors of the park.
The Disneytown shopping area includes popular shops ranging from the world’s largest Lego Store to essentials like Starbucks.
The area is also home to the Walt Disney theater which houses the world’s first Mandarin version of “The Lion King” broadway show. This is another example of how Disney is using Shanghai to expand all of their business divisions using the new park.
I will conclude this pictorial update with a quote from global Disney Imagineering Ambassador Marty Sklar, who likes to say “that the sun never sets on a Disney theme park.” More than ever this statement is true as the Shanghai Disney Resort bring the Disney theme park experience into another market that will raise Disney fans for generations to come.
Updated 8/20/18. At Disneyland, free items abound. In fact I would say that free and Disneyland go hand in hand (or Mickey Glove in Mickey Glove). There are numerous free experiences and items available at the Disneyland Resort if you know where to look.
This list covers the noteworthy free items scattered throughout the Disneyland Resort beyond the obvious shows and attractions which are all included with the price of your Disneyland tickets.
Before you even leave for you Disneyland trip, you can receive something for free. Disney offers a free planning video that provides a helpful overview of the theme parks, hotels, and Downtown Disney shopping district. This video is extremely helpful in planning your trip, or just nice to watch while you are away from the parks.
Autographed Character Photo
This is another item you can receive before you ever set foot inside of Disneyland. Disney will send you an autographed character photo if you send a letter to the address below requesting a nice character note.
Walt Disney Company
Attn: Fan Mail Department
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Free Cups Of Water From Any Counter Service Restaurant
Rather than purchasing bottles of water, you can request free cups of ice water from any of the various Disneyland counter service restaurants. Be sure to ask for a LARGE cup of water so that they don’t give you the dinky small sized ones.
FastPass, Park Maps, and Times Guides
There are many different paper products used throughout Disneyland. The Disneyland FastPass you collect to enjoy attractions, time guides informing you of different show times, and the park maps passed out at the entrance all make great keepsakes for any scrapbook or collection.
Drive the Mark Twain Riverboat
While the Mark Twain is operating, you can be selected to be an honorary riverboat captain. Not only will you get to experience a trip around the river in the pilot’s quarters, but you will receive a special certificate in thanks for your help.
The Cast Members on the Mark Twain Riverboat usually pick a family with a young child, so if you fit that description it can’t hurt to ask them.
Jungle Cruise River Maps
Right after disembarking from the world famous Jungle Cruise, ask one of the Cast Members for a map of the attraction. They often run out, so be sure to ask early in your trip because you may need to return in order to secure one.
There are special Disneyland buttons to celebrate almost every occasion, from birthdays to graduations. You can pick up a button at almost any store in either theme park and always at the Guest Relations kiosk just inside both theme parks.
Almost every table service restaurant will help you celebrate your birthday with a free dessert after a long meal. Make sure to mention that you are celebrating a birthday when you make the reservations via Disney Dining.
The Disneyland Animation Academy is the perfect place to learn how to draw your favorite Disney characters. Then, afterwards take home your artwork to be proudly displayed. The teacher will often also give out their artwork to someone in the class afterwards.
Your luck will vary on this one. Sometimes teachers refuse to give out their sketches.
When the Disneyland Railroad is operating, one of my favorite hidden experiences is riding the Lilly Belle car. This special train car was created to provide VIPs a secluded way to enjoy the Disneyland Railroad. Now it is available as part of Disney’s Grand Circle Tour.
Tender Seat Ride on the Railroad
You can ride up in the front cab of some of the train engines. This experience is fantastic and you will be able to meet some incredible Cast Members.
Because the trains just returned from being down for a year, Disney is retraining their Cast Members the procedures on having guests up in the tender of the cab before they reopen this experience. From what I have heard, they hope to bring the tender rides back around January.
The many musicians who play in the French Market area of Disneyland often carry Mardi Gras beads to throw to enthusiastic members of the audience. The more you are dancing and excited while listening to the music, the more likely you will be to receive beads.
New Year’s Eve Hats and Horns
On New Year’s Eve Disneyland goes all out with special bands, fireworks, and free hats and horns for all of the guests. The hats and horns are a nice festive addition to get everyone in the mood for the new year.
Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Shop located in the Pacific Wharf area of the park gives out free chocolate squares to all guests who enter the shop.
Boudin Bread Slices
Right across the street from Ghirardelli you will find the Boudin Bread Factory Tour. This perfect sourdough makes for a great snack on it’s own OR by combining the free chocolate from Ghirardelli to make a CHOCOLATE BREAD SANDWICH.
Disney Stickers From Cast Members
Many Disneyland Cast Members carry stickers to give out to kids. Most janitorial Cast Members (sweeping up trash in all white) will be more than happy to give you a sticker. Also, any Cast Member taking surveys usually has stickers to give out to people who complete the surveys.
Senior Wilderness Explorer Sticker
Check in with the Cast Member at the entrance to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail to find out how your child can become a Senior Wilderness Explorer. After completing all of the tasks, they can be rewarded with their own very special Senior Wilderness Explorer badge.
Jedi Training Academy
Kids who are selected to perform in the Jedi Training Academy not only get to dress up in Jedi robes and fight a Sith Lord, but they also receive a special pin certifying them as having completed the Jedi Training Academy.
The process of getting picked for the Jedi Training Academy recently changed. Now, parents must register their children in the morning for the show at a booth across from the entrance to Autopia. Here parents will be given a time to return with their children so that they can prepare for the show. This is a change from the random selection process that was used previously. This new method ensures that if your child really wants to participate in this, you can make it a top priority.
Free Souvenir Storage
Disneyland offers a free Package Check Service. If you are staying at any of the Disneyland Resort hotels, you may have your package sent directly to your room. You can also just have the packages held in Disneyland Park at the Stroller Rental area, The Star Trader, or Pioneer Mercantile and in Disney California Adventure at Elias and Company.
In order for your purchase to be stored here, you must have the receipt for item and the item may not be a limited edition run.
On Ride Photos
Your photo is taken on many of Disneyland’s most popular attractions. On many attractions you can purchase your photo at the exit (they also display your photos, so be sure to grab a picture of the picture). On Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters you can actually email your photo for free. Along with the photo your point total is nicely displayed.
This is a very nice practice in comparison to other theme parks such as Sea World where they have special face blockers that prevent the faces in a picture from displaying correctly if you attempt to take a picture of the picture. You can now download all of your PhotoPass photos for free as part of your subscription to Disneyland MaxPass.
Free Parking at Downtown Disney
Update September 10, 2017: This item is no longer free. The Downtown Disney parking lot offers two hour parking when you make a $20 minimum purchase and receive validation from a Downtown Disney location or four hour validation when you eat at a table-service restaurant or see a movie at the AMC theater.
These rules can change during the busy season, be sure to check at the parking lot upon arrival.
Free Valet Parking at Disneyland Hotel or Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel
You can park for three hours of free valet parking at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel or Disneyland Hotel when you validate your ticket at the Napa Rose or Steakhouse 55 respectively.
Again, check on the exact amount of time upon your arrival at the hotel. Tipping the valet is customary regardless.
Luggage Storage at the Disneyland Resort Hotels
Any of the Disneyland Resort hotels will provide luggage storage on the day of your arrival or departure. There is no known rule stopping non-hotel guests from using this service. This can be helpful if you are arriving from the airport early in the morning and want to go directly to the parks rather than stopping at your hotel.
If you choose to store your luggage at one of the hotels, be sure to tip the valet.
Autopia Driver’s License
Before hoping in your Autopia car, be sure to pick up a free Disneyland driver’s license. You can skip the DMV line for this one.
The attraction has undergone a renovation to add a new sponsor to the attraction. We will have to see if they are still giving out the licenses in the updated attraction.
Update 5/23/17: The Autopia Driver’s license is no longer given away for free. You can purchase your own custom license in one of the booths by the exit for $5.
Buena Vista Street Newspaper
The entrance area of Disney California Adventure, Buena Vista Street, has its own newspaper called the “Buena Vista Street Bugle.” I make sure to pick up a copy every time I am in the parks. It acts a time capsule of what was going on during that visit.
Update September 10, 2017: The free Disneyland maps are currently not being offered. This section will be updated when a new version of the Buena Vista Street Bugle is released once again.
Any Disneyland Balloon Cast Member will give you a replacement balloon if your balloon has popped. Simply bring the remnants of the first balloon with you to the Cast Member.
Dole Recipe Card From the Tiki Room
Update: As of 1/28/17 they were no longer handing out these free Disneyland recipe cards. There are seasonal recipe cards available at the Dole Whip bar in front of the Tiki Room. The recipes vary and come on a postcard sized piece of paper.
You can also request the recipe for almost any dish that you eat at City Hall in Disneyland or the Chamber of Commerce in Disney California Adventure.
First Aid Help In the Parks
The First Aid stations in both theme parks provide free doses of over the counter medication and cool dry storage of medical devices such as breast pumps or nebulizers. Ask any Cast Member for directions to the First Aid facilities in both theme parks.
Free WiFi In Hotel Lobbies
All three of the Disneyland Resort Hotels provide free WiFi in the lobby. One of my favorite spots to get work done or check in during our vacation is on one of the comfortable couches in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. You can also head up to the third floor of the hotel where there are more couches, it is even quieter, and there are far fewer people.
Samples of the Crazy Food Flavors
Disneyland not only has a wide variety of fantastic foods, they also have some unique flavors like the Mint Julep drink or dill pickle, bacon, and nacho cheese flavored popcorn. Each of these food stands are happy to offer samples of their food before you commit to a purchase.
Update 5/23/17: Disneyland no longer provides free samples of popcorn. You can still request free samples of the Mint Julep in New Orleans Square.
Free Buffet Dining For Those Under 3 Years Old
Dining at any buffet restaurant (including Disneyland character dining) at the Disneyland Resort is free for anyone under three years of age. Consider eating at the buffet if you want to avoid purchasing the kid’s meal at other a la carte restaurants.
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel pays homage to the classic 1800s and early 1900s Arts and Crafts architecture style. A Cast Member hosts the “Art of the Craft” walking tour of the hotel property sharing stories of the history that inspired the design of the hotel.
This tour is a hidden gem for any fan of architecture or history. Check in with the Guest Services desk in the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel for more information on the availability. The tour is open to guests staying at the hotel and those just visiting the theme parks. Generally the tour is held Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays at 1 p.m.
Mickey’s Halloween Party Candy and Bag
When you attend one of the Disneyland Mickey’s Halloween Party events, you will be given a bag for collecting candy and huge handfuls of candy throughout the park at the various trick-or-treat trails. There are also healthy snack options you can request at each station instead of the candy. While this is a separate ticket event, the special take home items are a nice addition and are worth mentioning on this list.
As part of your stay at any of the Disneyland Resort Hotels there are numerous perks that add to any resort stay.
Some of the most notable perks include:
You can request a wake up call from one of your favorite Disney Characters.
The concierge at each of the hotels has scavenger hunts that send you throughout both theme parks looking for clues. When you return the completed hunt to the front desk, you will receive a button depicting some of the attractions you experienced during the hunt.
I am constantly writing notes and to do lists in my everyday life. One of my favorite ways to bring the magic home with me is to use the pens and note pads collected from the Disneyland Resort. I have picked up generic Disneyland pens plus unique pens branded to each individual hotel.
Disney Vacation Club Members have free DVD rentals during their stay at the Grand Californian.
$400 of Discounts Plus Free Lanyards and Backpacks
There are even more amazing free things that can come when you book your vacation as a package. As an incentive for your booking, travel agencies offer wonderful extras. We partner with Get Away Today to secure exclusive low prices on your Disneyland vacation and to get the best assortment of additional free bonuses when you book your vacation.
When you book with Get Away Today you will receive:
Exclusive Area Coupons: Upon purchase you will be emailed a PDF of coupons that can be used repeatedly for 10% off the hottest Downtown Disney restaurants including La Brea Bakery, Catal, Naples, Tortilla Jo’s, and the Uva Bar. Also you will find other coupons for chain restaurants in the area.
Pin lanyard: Each adult in the group will receive a free pin lanyard to carry any Disney pins you purchase as well as your park tickets.
Disney sling backpack: Each child in the group gets a free Disney sling backpack perfect for carrying in the parks.
Fun Free Printable Downloads: As a fun way to get prepared for your trip, you will receive special printable sheets including games, vacation countdown chains, vacation reveal ideas, and more.
We have two great resources for your to utilize and enjoy:
If you enjoyed this article, you can find even more Disneyland history, tips, and secrets in our Disney Dose Newsletter.
If you are planning a trip, be sure to check out our other website at MickeyVisit.com for the Mickey Visit Disney Deals Email that features exclusive discount prices on tickets, hotels, and dining in and around Disneyland.
‘Zootopia’ is part parable, part action-filled adventure, part female empowerment, and all together is a heartfelt animated feature that immediately joins the top film ranks of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Monster’s Inc,’ ‘Aladdin,’ and ‘Toy Story.’
I unequivocally suggest that all people see this film. I highly suggest you refrain from reading any more of this review or any others on the web if you have not yet seen the film. Part of the reason I enjoyed ‘Zootopia’ so much was because I avoided learning to much before hand and stopped myself from having high expectations.
It has now be an entire week since I first saw ‘Zootopia.’ Over the course of that week the film has not left my mind for longer than a few hours. It is impressive that an animated film has stayed top of mind for such a long time after. Furthermore, I wasn’t just thinking of the enthralling story elements or stunning visuals, I was dissecting the story and applying the deeper elements to our own world.
Similar to the positive messages on love presented in ‘Frozen,’ this new film offers a teachable moment for those who want to dive deeper into the story. Hidden beneath the storyline of ‘Zootopia,’ lies an examination of the “why?” behind the the prejudice of our society. I don’t want to dive too deeply into a full analysis before you have seen the film for yourself. Part of the reason I enjoyed ‘Zootopia’ so much was because of my low expectations. In the weeks to come I hope to analyze the film even more deeply. Forbes gives a nice dive into this side of the film if you would like more information now.
Not only does this story provide a cultural context on a deeper level, but it serves as a thrilling tale that is fun for all ages. The youngest members of the family will enjoy the surface level story of a young female bunny (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) going to the big city to live out her dream as the first bunny cop. While there she has a run in with a fox (Jason Bateman) who then gets roped in as her partner. This “cute” bunny and a “sly” fox save the city and in doing so break their assigned stereotypes.
Or maybe you will enjoy the new hit song “Try Everything” as performed by Shakira while playing her role as the hit superstar Gazelle. The song has just enough repetition and is played enough times in the film that I can’t imagine you will walk out of the theater without having this tune stuck in your head.
Others will enjoy the incredible details and animation that went into creating this multi-tiered world inhabited by animals ranging from shrews to elephants. Even though we only see a select chunk of the city of Zootopia in the film, you can tell that this world stretches out much farther than the edges of the screen. In fact, so many people have been inspired by the graphics of the film in the trailer and in the film that one of the top searches on Google is “Zootopia Pixar,” while the film was actually a Walt Disney Animation Studios film. This acknowledgement by the public is another sign that the animation team down in Burbank continues to up their game and is now on an almost level playing field with their friends up in Emeryville.
Overall I unequivocally suggest that all people see this film. No more review needed.
As audiences prepare to see ‘Zootopia’ this weekend, the film continues to hold over a 95% score from both critics and audience members on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer. The film is predicted to have one of the largest openings for Walt Disney Animation Studios ever. Box Office Mojo has predicted that by the end of the first weekend, the film will hit $72-73 million dollars, breaking the March animation record and surpassing the opening weekend of blockbuster, ‘Frozen.’
New details about the upcoming Star Wars Land for Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida were released during the Wonderful World of Disneyland TV special on February 21.
Harrison Ford was brought on stage to present additional concept art for the previously announced fourteen acre Star Wars Land coming to both coasts. He briefly introduced the video clip saying: “Star Wars is, for lack of a better word, AWESOME.” He continued saying “I am so blessed that I had the opportunity to be a part of it, to walk in these iconic locations, and soon you will be able to do that as well. Not in a galaxy far far away, but in a place close to home. Ladies and Gentleman, your first look at the Star Wars Experience.”
In the clip to follow, new concept art and additional information about the two new attractions is revealed.
Onboard the new Millennium Falcon attraction guests will actually be “piloting the fastest ship in the galaxy, banking left, right, firing the laser cannons.” The guests “are in complete control.”
For the second attraction which was previously identified as having the largest backstage and show building in the entire Disneyland Resort and one of the largest in Walt Disney World, you can “imagine finding yourself in the middle of a battle between the resistance and the first order in a race against time.” This attraction appears to be a new type of trackless ride system similar to one previously used in Hong Kong Disneyland’s Mystic Manor attraction.
Additional details were also released about the rest of the Star Wars Land with the statement of: “you have watched the saga, now enter these authentic locales with your every sense engaged. You’re meeting droids and aliens, entering otherworldly street markets, actually tasting the local delicacies, and going upscale at the planet’s best dinner club, or for the truly adventurous, heading down to the local cantina.”
For all of the information that we have on Star Wars Land and more concept art, enjoy the full story.
Here’s the video presentation of all of the artwork.
Taken at face value, the cost associated with a vacation to Disneyland, the “happiest place on earth,” would make anyone unhappy. However, I am here to tell you that with some simple maneuvering, you can save hundreds of dollars on your next Disneyland vacation.
These tips make Disneyland a place where any family, regardless of budget, can visit and have a wonderful time. The below tips are summaries of larger topics. For the full information on any of the tips, be sure to click on the additional information links included.
Plan Your Trip: At MickeyVisit.com, we keep tabs on all of the Disneyland deals and even send out exclusive ones to subscribers of our FREE Disney Deals Newsletter. During this off season period, by combining low hotel prices and coupons, you can save. Also, the parks will be much less crowded allowing you to experience more.
Avoid the Anaheim Convention Center Conferences
The Anaheim Convention Center is the biggest convention center on the West Coast and it is only getting bigger with a huge 200,000 square foot expansion opening soon. When large conferences are in town, the hotel room rates sky rocket. Read about when is the best time to visit Disneyland.
Disneyland does not directly offer discount tickets on their website. However, there are approved retailers who partner with Disney to offer low prices on tickets. We struck a deal with Get Away Today, Disneyland’s first official partner, to offer the lowest price on Disneyland tickets–anywhere. When you purchase your tickets from Get Away Today you will save almost $20 per ticket.
During the off season, a Disneyland package is often the best way to book a trip to Disneyland. Within the package you will not only save money on your hotel and Disneyland tickets, you will also get exclusive bonuses. There are more options and things to consider when purchasing a package, but the package can save you a lot of money. We have an in-depth article written on this topic linked below.
Disneyland Character Dining is a quintessential piece of any Disneyland vacation. When you pre-purchase your Disneyland Character Dining vouchers, you will save about 10% off of the set price for Disneyland Character dining. Read our full guide below for information on where to buy and our favorite character dining locations.
Stay Off Property at a Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel
While the Disney owned resort hotels are breathtaking, consider how much time you actually will spend in your hotel during your Disneyland vacation. When we visit, all that I need is a comfortable bed and a clean bathroom. There are plenty of Disney Good Neighbor hotels just across the street from the park that cost much less than any Disney resort, but still fulfill all your needs.
Eat Breakfast Outside of the Parks or Bring Your Own
Another perk to staying at one of the non-Disney owned Good Neighbor hotels is that many of them offer complimentary continental breakfasts. I highly recommend eating a big breakfast outside of the parks before entering. This will save you time and money inside the parks. Then bring snacks to keep you going until the afternoon when the lines for lunch will be shorter. If you do not want to travel with large amounts of granola bars from home, walk half a block from the Disneyland entrance to the CVS Pharmacy at Harbor Boulevard and Katella Avenue to pick up some snacks.
Make sure to bring a water bottle with you. You can fill this up throughout the day with any of the easy water bottle fillers or with free ice water. Inside Disneyland Park you can find water bottle fillers at Tomorrowland Terrace, Rancho Del Zocalo, the French Market, and the Plaza Inn. Disney California Adventure Park does not have any water bottle fillers. I have found that the best place to fill water bottles with cold water is the Wine Country Trattoria bathroom. At any of the counter service restaurants, you can request a free large cup of water with ice. If you need the taste of a flavored beverage, you can bring flavor packets to dump into your water to avoid the exorbitant soda costs.
You can very easily purchase some great Disneyland souvenirs at a lower price before you leave for your trip. There is no reason to pay the high prices on a character autograph book in the parks when it is easy to purchase one at a discount before hand.
Set a budget or decide what you will purchase before hand.
Every trip we purchase a pin to commemorate a certain special experience we had. For example, being in the park on New Year’s Eve or riding Tower of Terror for the first time. These will help you remember your trip and bring up specific reasons why you loved your vacation.
Be sure to check the weather forecast before leaving on your vacation. A poncho from the drugstore is cheaper than in Disneyland. This goes for quite a few packing items. Speaking of poncho’s I always bring one along anyways because I really don’t enjoy getting wet on the water rides and then sloshing along for the rest of the day. Instead, I just throw on my poncho.
Consider Purchasing an Annual Pass For the Discounts
It is easy to spend quite a bit on meals out at night. The Disneyland Annual Pass provides discounts of at least 10% that pays for itself if you are spending enough on dining and souvenirs over the course of your trip. Consider purchasing an Annual Pass for just one member of your group.
If you think your daughter or son will want to dress up during your Disneyland trip, bring a princess dress from home. When considering the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Disney princess makeover experience, keep in mind that you can actually bring your own princess dress rather than purchasing the ones that they have in the parks.
Buy Before You Go: I recommend purchasing your Disney princess dress from the Disney Store online. They frequently have sales.
Purchase Disney Pins in Advance
If you plan to trade pins while you are in the parks, you should purchase pins in bulk online before arriving at the parks. Be sure to read our full guide linked below for our advice on avoiding the knock off pins frequently sold to unsuspecting purchasers on eBay.
Did you know that the idea for eBay came from the founder’s girlfriend’s desire to sell her Disney pins?
Don’t Drive to Disneyland
If you are flying to Disneyland, there is no reason to rent a car. The parking fees are high at both the resort and hotels. Instead compare all of the different transportation options to get from the airport to the hotel. We frequently use Uber to travel in between (there is coupon on the page linked below that will give you $15 off your first ride with Uber). If you plan to make any day trips, there are offices for most of the top car rental companies within the Disneyland Resort area.
There are Disney PhotoPass photographers stationed throughout the park waiting to take your photo on their camera. While these photographers are stationed to capture the moment in order to have Disney sell you a print, they are more than happy to take a photo with your camera.
There are cash machines throughout the resort which will allow you to withdraw from your bank account for a small fee. An easy way to avoid this transaction fee is to purchase Disney gift cards which function as cash at any area of the resort and do not have any purchase fee.
During my last visit to Disneyland I was appalled to see a child who had just received his order of corn dog with a side of apples throw away the apples with the rest of the container. If only the child knew he was throwing away almost three dollars. At all of the Disneyland corn dog carts you can purchase an off-the-menu “side corn dog” which comes without the apples or chips for about $6 while the regular corn dog is closer to $9.
The best way to save money at Disneyland is to save before you even leave for your trip. Look for coupons to lower the price of the vacation before you even leave.
Plan Your Trip: As you continue your search for the lowest priced Disneyland tickets, hotel accommodations, and flights, join our exclusive FREE Disney Deals newsletter which hunts down exclusive Disneyland deals just for you.
This week I sit down with three-time Academy Award nominated Tom Myers, who is a supervising sound editor at Skywalker Sound, the sound editing division at LucasFilm. For the interview, I traveled up to George Lucas’ inner secret sanctum: Skywalker Ranch. Listen and hear about all of the incredible sights I experienced on the ranch.
Tom Myers has worked on projects ranging from classic Pixar films like Monsters Inc. to Walt Disney Imagineering projects like Soarin’ Over California. The stories and insight he provides allows for a look into an area of production that audiences rarely consider. The experience of sitting down with Tom was one that is only comparable to my interview with Joe Rohde.
Click The Play Button Below to Listen:
In this episode you will hear:
How he got involved with sound design and LucasFilm
What is his best advice for those who are interested in working in film
Who he got to meet while attending the annual Oscars luncheon for award nominees
What were the most fun moments working with directors
How he feels working with Walt Disney Imagineering
How the process of recording with celebrities influences the movie in animation and live action
Which easter eggs you should look for in the films he has worked on
What it is like working for John Lasseter and the other directors at Pixar
How they designed the sound effects in Soarin’ Over California
Which was the attraction with the most difficult sound design
How he finds inspiration for the sounds for his films
Plus: Listen for this week’s Disneyland Secret
You will not want to miss this episode.
You can read more about Tom Myers’ incredible array of awards and film credits on his Skywalker Sound page.
Special Thanks to You:
The Disney Dose podcast is a production put on for you, the Disney enthusiast. Please let me know if you are enjoying the show by leaving a review on iTunes. You can also contact us to share your thoughts and show ideas. Contact me here.
“The Good Dinosaur” presents a beautiful film that is visually advanced beyond any animation we have seen to date. The story focuses on a young dinosaur named Arlo who grows from being the runt of the litter to the hero of the family.
The visuals raise the Pixar standards, creating a realistic world that the dinosaurs inhabit. I would pay top dollar for matte prints of the background shots from the film. They were incredible! While I rarely choose to buy 3D tickets, because of the stunning visuals, I would highly recommend 3D for “The Good Dinosaur.”
Take a look at these beautiful visuals below. Even these stunning stills don’t quite do the photo-realisticness justice.
I appreciated the world that the dinosaurs inhabited. Even going into the film, I knew that the most difficult element would be the character design for the dinosaurs. In the end, they chose to have more cartoony dinosaurs, which provided a stark contrast against the realistic background.
As you may have noticed, I have yet to even mention the story, and for a Pixar film that’s a big deal. In an attempt to explain the story, I would classify the movie as a mixture between “The Lion King” and “Finding Nemo.” These are two of my favorite movies, which really caused me to enjoy this finding-the-way-home classic. The film didn’t present any groundbreaking setting (i.e. “Inside Out“) but rather a familiar struggle to be reunited with family.
While there were some humorous moments, the film overall had a darker tone, that I hadn’t been expecting. For large chunks, there was a feeling of unease and tenseness that is comparable to the darker scenes with Sid from “Toy Story.” As an example, John Ratzenberger, usually one of the top providers of comic relief in every Pixar film, actually voiced an evil villain.
These are the characters that John Ratzenberger has voiced for Pixar over the years.
Spoilers* About fifteen minutes into the film, the gorge scene from “The Lion King” is almost exactly replicated as Arlo’s father is lost in a flash flood. This sets off a series of events causes Arlo to end up lost, miles from home. During the trip back, he meets a human companion, who joins him on his journey. The human is not yet as evolved as the dinosaurs, is unable to speak, and seems more of a pet companion. My favorite scene in the film comes when Arlo meets a family of T-Rexs who are characterized as cowboys roaming the open plains with their herd. This segment offered welcome humor after the darker opening of the film.
Overall “The Good Dinosaur” is not in my top Pixar favorites, but you need to go out and see this film. Take this as a preview for the capabilities of the Pixar Animation team. I wonder how these new found skills will be applied to the ocean world of “Finding Dory.” I guess we’ll just have to wait and see to find out.
Update 11/28/15: Almost one year ago, we shared the news that the new Club 33 dining room would offer unique experiences to non club members (see full story below). Now, I am here to tell you that these experiences are beginning to finally be rolled out. Club 33 members recently received information on the newly announced experiences for the general public. Up until this point, the room has only played host to Club 33 Members and top-level Disney executives.
The first package will include access to the exclusive Club 33 Le Salon Nouveau before the meal and a five-course dining experience inside the new 21 Royal Street dining room.
The second package includes the use of the Disneyland Dream Suite. Cocktails and after dinner coffee will be served on the balcony of the suite.
No starting date for the new experience has been confirmed. This dining room is still a part of Club 33, and as such, members of the club have first choice for dates and evenings. Eventually the public will be offered the opportunity to book the room nights that have not already been reserved by members.
I was sent photos of the new dining room five months ago anonymously. I have been waiting for this confirmation to share them.
This is the entry way sitting room that is located at the top of the stairs when you first enter 21 Royal Street.
The dining room features beautiful murals by Disney artist Leslee Turnbull. Here the Haunted Mansion is painted to appear before it became haunted.
Just off of the main dining room.
Update: Disneyland Public Relations has officially reached out to Disney Dose to fully explain the unclear letter Club 33 members received. The 21 Royal Street location will open as a private dining room requiring advanced reservations. Club 33 members will have priority to book the room, but in the future park guests may be able to make reservations. This space can seat to 16 people.
Disney has confirmed that the Royal Courtyard construction is for this project and the Disney Dream Suite will not be impacted.
Disneyland has built a new dining room above New Orleans Square adjacent to the private membership Club 33. But, unlike the club, this new restaurant will be open to the general public. The currently unnamed restaurant will rival the award winning Napa Rose in the Grand Californian and the Victoria and Albert Restaurant in Walt Disney World. This is the first time that alcohol has been served outside of Club 33 in Disneyland during regular operating hours.
That’s huge news! That info alone should make you want to share this article, but we are just getting started.
Club 33 members have received letters confirming this rumored new restaurant.
Location, Location, Location,
For the last two months, the Royal Courtyard located at 21 Royal Street has been under construction with scaffolds covering the stairway. This will be the new entrance to high end restaurant. For the last ten or more years, the courtyard has been used strictly for merchandise overflow from the Pirates of the Caribbean souvenir shop.
This the outside of the new restaurant located at 21 Royal Street in Disneyland. The photo comes from Disneyland update provider, Mint Crocodile.
Here’s how the Royal Courtyard looked upon last inspection two weeks ago. Photo by Mint Crocodile.
This courtyard is being remade to match the original Herb Ryman artwork, seen below.
Once up the stairs, guests will enjoy a beautiful dining room with views out to New Orleans Square as well as access to the Disney Dream Suite courtyard. I remember this courtyard from the time the Disney Gallery occupied the space above the Pirates of the Caribbean.
The upstairs dining room is already completed and the reports from those who have seen the space are quite positive.
Dining Experience and Menu
The restaurant will share it’s kitchen with Club 33 and based upon that, you can assume that Andrew Sutton will be the executive chef for this new restaurant as well. Sutton is currently the executive chef for the Carthay Circle Restaurant, Napa Rose, and Club 33. Seeing as he controls the Club 33 kitchen, I am almost positive that he will be head chef and that we will see an experience similar to the Napa Rose Chef’s Table offered here nightly.
The menu is currently quite fluid with no options finalized, but one version shared with me would be a 10+ course meal a la the Napa Valley French Laundry restaurant.
Inside the restaurant, Club 33 members will hold special privileges including, reserved seating and top priority for reservations.
Club 33 Copycat? Or Are They Copying Carthay Circle Restaurant?
Now, if this restaurant provides fine dining, alcohol, and beautiful views of New Orleans square, what is the difference between this new restaurant and Club 33? This new restaurant will allow someone, such as you or me, to visit Disneyland and decide that rather than paying for a year long membership to a private club, we can pay for one night. But, there is something special about Club 33, that is not achieved by this restaurant, or even by getting the coveted Club 33 reservation from the friend of the friend of the uncle of your dog. Being a Club 33 member makes you a part of a Disney royalty of sorts that provides much more than just access to a restaurant. The special experiences offered specifically to members, such as seating at the Disneyland Candlelight Processional, talks from Disney legends, and the best reserved viewing for World of Color and Fantasmic! make this membership worthwhile. There are Club 33 members who are grumbling about the changes, but I see very few dropping their memberships because of these changes.
So, this restaurant will never be able to copy Club 33, but maybe it will copy something else.
Last April, Mary Niven, the Vice President in charge of Disney California Adventure was switched over to Disneyland. Niven is the reason the relaunch of Disney California Adventure went off without a hitch. It was Mary Niven who created the FastPass system for World of Color…and now it is in Disneyland. It was Mary Niven who pushed the Carthay Circle Restaurant through the Disney corporate restrictions and was able to create a proper fine dining restaurant in the middle of theme park. And my guess is that it was Mary Niven who wanted to recreate the success of the Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disneyland Park.
Now, the big question…when will we see this new restaurant welcoming guests in the parks. The answer to that is quite exciting. This restaurant could open as early as January or February of next year.
Are you interested in Disneyland secrets and stories like Club 33, the secrets hidden inside Pirates of the Caribbean, or the super secret “it’s a Small World” doll? Well you have to check out our Disneyland Secrets eBook.
There is an incredibly wide selection of books available on every aspect of the Disney Company. This article highlights my favorite Disney books that feature the Disney films, theme parks, and company history. Over time I will continue to update this page, but for now I will present to you my favorite books, plus new books that were released this year.
Everyone in my family knows me as a Disney enthusiast. Therefore, quite frequently, the gifts I receive on Christmas morning are Disney centric. This is the perfect page to send off to your family–who I am sure knows you as a Disney fan–so that they know what to get you for Christmas. Each of the books are presented with a brief description and link to their page where you can find them on Amazon.
Disney Book List: For the Disney Fan
The books are separated into categories based on the style. The categories include: historical reading, coffee table books, and in the park reading.
Historical Disney Book Reading
The Disneyland Story by Sam Gennawey is the closest thing that Disneyland has to an historical textbook. This book is constructed as the biography of Disneyland. Not only does this book provide hundreds of quotes and stories, but it provides a thorough bibliography for each chapter that provides much more thorough reading. When you are ready to go on a deep dive into the history of Disneyland, this is the book for you.
The Unofficial Disneyland Encyclopedia contains references for almost everything, every person, and place in Disneyland past and present. With explanations for items ranging from the now defunct Crocodile Mercantile store to the area previously known as Magnolia Park. Each time that you open up the book, some new tidbit will jump off the page.
The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansionwalks readers through the twisted story leading up to the creation of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. This fascinating story could be the most unique back story to any Disneyland attraction because Walt Disney passed away and left no heir apparent for who would be the leader making the final decisions on the project. Each scene of the attraction is highlighted and dissected piece by piece. A fun read.
Mouse Tales: A Behind-The-Ears Look at Disneylandwas the first popular non-Disney approved book to appear on the market. The book is filled with stories collected from ex-Cast Member interviews. This book is lighthearted and really dishes on the past of the Disney company. Watch out if you don’t want to have any of the secrets of the park divulged. This book reveals the early not-so-politically correct backstage happenings in Disneyland.
On the Disney Beat: Over 30 Years of Chronicling the People and Places in Walt’s World is a combination of a memoir and history book highlighting a few key people in the “Disney World.” The book is written by long time journalist Chuck Schmidt. Over the years he has been responsible for providing unique coverage of the Disney Parks and opens up about being amember of the press in this book. He also highlights the stories of a few incredible people he has met over the years working for Disney.
In Service to the Mouse: My Unexpected Journey to Becoming Disneyland’s First President is my top recommendation for anyone who is even slightly interested in Disney history or business. This book written by Jack Lindquist, the first president of Disneyland, offers a behind the scenes look at all of the fun he had while working for the company. The book is a light read–separated into chapters by story. If you are anything like me, you will laugh out loud and finish the book the same day you pick it up.
Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms is the memoir of Disney Legend Marty Sklar, who served as head of Walt Disney Imagineering for quite awhile. The book is written in a similar style to In Service to the Mouse, however this book focuses on the history and facts while In Service highlights the emotional situations.
Inside the Disney Marketing Machineis the memoir of Lorraine Santoli, former Director of Corporate Synergy for The Walt Disney Company. In the book, she shares stories from her early days working with the celebrities as a Disney publicist, time leading the marketing Disneyland, and unique appointment to the new division of corporate synergy under Michael Eisner.
Windows on Main Street: 35 Years of Creating Magic at Disneyland Park is the memoir of Van Arsdale France, the man who created the world class concept of “Cast Member” training and the Disney University program. The book not only provides incredible lessons learned from his work creating the Disney training programs, but also stories ranging from the construction of Disneyland to the tough managerial style of Walt Disney. This book has been out of print of years, and was only just republished. This masterpiece is a vital addition to your Disney library.
The Adventures of Tom Nabbeis an aptly titled book as it reflect the author’s first role working for Disney: playing Tom Sawyer. Nabbe lived just down the road from Disneyland and visited frequently during the construction of the park, which led him to be hired as the first actor to play Tom Sawyer. You won’t want to miss this book that culminates in the years leading up to Tom Nabbe receiving his well-deserved window on Main Street and Disney Legend award.
From Jungle Cruise Skipper to Disney Legend: 40 Years of Magical Memories at Disney is written in a similar style of one of our Disney Dose podcast interviews. The book traces the life of Disney Legend William “Sully” Sullivan from his first days working in Disneyland through his forty year career at Disney which culminated in his leadership of the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. The book includes many fascinating stories that are a perfect addition for anyone who is a fan of the details behind the Disney history.
Fiction Books Featuring Disney
The Kingdom Keepers series are perfect books for anyone eight and up who wants a fiction book. This is a Young Adult series written by Ridley Pearson that tells the story of what happens at the Disney theme parks when the guests go home.
The Posters of the Disney Parks provides a unique look into the changing process of creating the masterful Disney parks posters. Also inside is a beautiful gallery highlighting the most unique Disney parks posters from around the world. This book is a great piece to leave out on the coffee table for people to flick through.
The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic was recently updated to highlight new changes and stories from the Haunted Mansion attraction. This book traces the creation of the attraction through stories and photos from the first conception of a haunted house in Disneyland through the completion of the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland and of the other Disney Parks around the world.
Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Moviesis written in a similar style to the Haunted Mansion book mentioned above. The book follows the creation of the attraction through it’s inspiration of the block buster Pirates of the Caribbean films. These glossy books tell the story through rare photos and stories and are great additions to your library.
Decorative Art of Victoria’s Era is the original book from which Walt Disney Imagineer’s drew inspiration to create the Haunted Mansion. The original concept drawing for the mansion was traced straight from pages of this book. While it was published in 1950, the price is still relatively low considering the mark that it had on Disney history.
Books to Pass the Time in Disneyland or Walt Disney World
These books are filled with information and written in a way that is perfect to read at home or to take with you into Disneyland. These books help to enhance the magic in the parks or bring the magic home with you.
Steven Barret has written Hidden Mickey guides for each Disney theme park around the world: Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line. These books identify the hidden Mickeys that Imagineers often incorporate into the various new attractions. Bringing this book along on your vacation turns your trip into a special scavenger hunt.
Seen, Unseen Disneyland is a photo guide to the unique design elements of Disneyland. This book will surely reveal something new to you during your next visit to Disneyland. Filled with fun photos and details from Disneyland park, this is a great way to visualize hidden details from Disneyland at home.
Lots to Do In Line, a sort of multiple choice test for the small details hidden in the queues for attractions around you, is a nice way to pass the time spent waiting in line. The questions range from recounting specific details on a sign to locating items on a scavenger hunt list. The book is great for families with young children. There are versions for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
The Imagineering Field Guide series is a fun pocket sized book that provides insightful tidbits of information about the history and surroundings in Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The book series includes rare concept art, interesting facts and figures, glossy photos, and incredible stories. Click here to see all of the Imagineering Field guides created for each park.
Disneyland Secrets Makes the Perfect Christmas Present
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my new book, Disneyland Secrets: A Grand Tour of Disneyland’s Hidden Details. The book is filled to the brim with secrets, each developed into a brief story that illuminates a forgotten moment in Disney history, sheds light on a neglected area of the park, or reveals something new about an iconic attraction, such as:
Why is the address of Disneyland 1313 Harbor Boulevard?
What’s up with the Jewish menorah on Main Street?
Why is there a fake book called “Walt & You” at City Hall?
Where can you find Sherlock Holmes at Disneyland?
Is there really a pet cemetery at the Haunted Mansion?
Shhh! I don’t want to give it away. The answers are secret, until you read this book.
The book is now available on Amazon in both print and Kindle editions. For the Christmas season we are offering exclusive bonuses to those who purchase the book. Included are even more secrets and a free copy of the digital version of the book. Claim your bonuses after purchasing here.
What are your top Disney books? Comment below (one giveaway entry per comment).
This Disney Dose podcast presents the audio from Imagineering 60 Years of Disneyland: Part 2 continuing Walt Disney’s legacy. The panel is moderated by Leslie Iwerks, the granddaughter of famed Disney Animator, Ub Iwerks. Leslie is directing the much anticipated documentary on Imagineering: The Imagineering Story.
What caused the big change at Walt Disney Imagineering
How each of them got their big Disney break
Which films were the biggest inspirations for their time at Disneyland
What it means to be a “Disney Brat”
What allows for people to find their passion and jobs at Disney
How one received a masters class in parades
What allowed the young Imagineers to work up the ranks
How they thought about the Disneyland 60th Anniversary
Which book you need to read to become an Imagineer
How they created the floating head for the Haunted Mansion
And so much more…
Plus: Listen for this week’s Disneyland Secret about the Disney Traditions training program
Special Thanks to You:
The Disney Dose podcast is a production put on for you, the Disney enthusiast. Please let me know if you are enjoying the show by leaving a review on iTunes. You can also contact us to share your thoughts and show ideas. Contact me here.
This Disney Dose podcast features a presentation from the D23 Expo titled Imagineering 60 Years of Disneyland: Working With Walt. The panel is moderated by Leslie Iwerks, the granddaughter of famed Disney Animator, Ub Iwerks. Leslie is a documentarian who is producing the much anticipated documentary, The Imagineering Story.
Marty Sklar, Orlando Ferrante, and Richard Sherman joined Leslie on the panel. Marty Sklar is the former principal creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering (a fancy way of saying he ran the show). Orlando Ferrante is the former Vice President of engineering, design, and production for Walt Disney Imagineering. Richard Sherman is a member of the songwriting team behind classics ranging from films like “Mary Poppins” and “Parent Trap” to attractions like It’s a Small World and Tiki Room.
This panel presentation is a can’t miss attraction and is filled with stories about the opening years of Disneyland told straight from the people who lived them.
Click The Play Button Below to Listen:
In this episode you will hear:
What was the most important year in Disneyland’s history
Why Pirates of the Caribbean is so perfect to ride over and over again
What Walt Disney said when he liked something
How Walt Disney crafted contracts to save the most money and stretch the limits of their creativity
Why the model shop was so important at Walt Disney Imagineering
How Richard Sherman wrote the Tiki Room song
How Walt Disney lived his life in such a way that everyone had to keep up
What drove Walt Disney to create all of the films
And so much more…
Plus: Listen for this week’s Disneyland Secret about Disney’s relationship with Coca Cola
Special Thanks to You:
The Disney Dose podcast is a production put on for you, the Disney enthusiast. Please let me know if you are enjoying the show by leaving a review on iTunes. You can also contact us to share your thoughts and show ideas. Contact me here.
These photos are from a trip backstage at the Haunted Mansion attraction.
The way that Walt Disney Imagineers created the ghost effect throughout the classic Haunted Mansion attraction is by using mirrors and reflections to create a whispy effect on the ghost figures. In reality, the ghost figures are in one room with their reflections being cast into another room causing them to appear to be able to float through tables and fly.
[button href=”http://disneydose.com/backstage-pirates-caribbean-disneyland/” primary=”true” centered=”true”]Click here for photos of the Pirates of the Caribbean[/button]
1. This “Ghost” Struggles to Blow Out a Candle
2. Crowned King of the deadly dance
3. Crowd of the undead dance floor
4. Who knew that ghosts rode bicycles.
5. In the graveyard these ghosts are constantly having a swinging wake.
8. The little ones just gets to me–in a creepy way
9. Would you want this ghost to follow you home?
1o. Row upon row of hitch hiking ghosts…like the gift bag table at a petrifying party
(These photos come from Mark Correy of the Vintage Disneyland group on Facebook. Drop by and take a look at all of the awesome photos there.)
Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is both the first haunted house that I ever experienced and the best quality I have experienced to date. Whether you like the Disneyland version of Walt Disney World one, there is room for one more in almost every Disney Park across the globe.
Disneyland lifts my spirits. My visits are the highlight of my year. Something about the park, makes me fall in love more and more with each visit. Just glancing over these incredible shots makes me want to pack my bags and hop on the plane right now.
The photos we have collected below all come from Mike Billick, just one of the photographers who contributed to our Disneyland Secrets wall calendar.
Without further ado, here are ten Disneyland photos that will make you want to visit right now.
10. Ariel’s Undersea Adventure on a bright sunny day.
Located on the edge of the glittering Paradise Pier area, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure takes you under the sea and through the story of the Little Mermaid. This is a great attraction, with AIR CONDITIONING, that is almost always less than a five minute line. Save this for the afternoon, and enjoy the beautifully upgraded attraction.
9. Shoot For the Stars in Tomorrowland
The kinetic movement of the Tomorrowland Orbitron draws you into the land. This is one of the beautifully designed “weenies” featured in the Disney theme park. You can read the full story on what a weenie is, how they came to be named this, and what the weenies throughout the park are in our new book : Disneyland Secrets: A Grand Tour of Disneyland’s Hidden Details.
8. All Aboard the Disneyland Railroad
The Disneyland Main Street Station is the first thing and the last thing that you see during any trip into Disneyland Park. This beautiful station serves as a beacon drawing excited guests farther into the magical land. I recently rode around the park inside the Ernest S Marsch engine, and the train lover in me went crazy.
7. Get Soaked on Grizzly River Rapids
Nothing feels better than a ride on Grizzly River Rapids on a hot day. In fact, my favorite time to ride is in the cold season or at nighttime when I can just ride around and around multiple times without any wait. Of course I pack my poncho and put plastic bags from the store at the exit to the attraction over my shoes before I get on.
6. Join the Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed in It’s a Small World
It’s a Small World and the accompanying theme song is one of the most iconic pieces of every Disney theme park. This “happiest cruise that ever sailed” provides an incredible journey around the “world” past hundreds of cute singing dolls. I love the shot below that really brings the nighttime attraction facade to life.
5. Go Pilfering With the Pirates of the Caribbean
For the first twenty times I rode the Pirates of the Caribbean, I tried to take photos of the incredible sets and fast moving figures. But, every one turned out too dark or blurry. Instead of taking the incredible dark ride photo tips from our friend Tom Bricker, I have decided to settle for the better photos that others take of the attraction.
4. Gaze at the sunset over Sleeping Beauty Castle.
There is no time that I like more than dusk in Disneyland. I love to take photos of my own during this time, in fact that’s when I took the iconic photo of the top of Pirates of the Caribbean that now serves as our podcast cover art. This shot of the castle perfectly captures the time when the sun is still shining but the lights have come on around the park.
3. Adore the Snow Wishing Well and Grotto.
The Snow White Wishing Well is one of my favorite areas of the park. In the late afternoon, when the trees are perfectly providing shade for the area, I love to sit and gaze at this beautiful scene. There is a great story behind the origins of the marble statues, that you can read here.
2. Take a Spin on the Mad Tea Party Spinning Teacups.
The Mad Tea Party teacups are one of my dad’s favorite attractions. On almost every visit we jump in one of the tea cups and go for a whirl.
1. Why not DROP into the Tower of Terror on this beautiful California day.
The Hollywood Tower Hotel, with all of the greatest glitzy and glamor of the Hollywood golden age is one of the best themed attractions in Disney California Adventure, aside from Cars Land.
Disney announced today that the Rivers of America Area and Disneyland Railroad will close temporarily starting January 10. These closures are a part of the construction for the brand new Star Wars Land that we recently told you all about.
Attractions along the Rivers of America, including:
Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia
Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes
In an exclusive comment, Disneyland Public Relations confirmed that the above attractions will be closed for AT LEAST a year.
They also said that the Rivers of America will just be partially drained. It is too early to tell how this will visually impact the entire area, but we know that the river will not be completely fenced along the perimeter. In other words, won’t have another Wall Street, like when Disney was finishing up Disney California Adventure.
The Cast Members who have been displaced due to construction will all be offered roles in other areas of the Disneyland Resort. But, with both “Fantasmic!” and the “Aladdin the Musical Spectacular” closed, there will be quite a few performers and entertainment tech workers displaced. Maybe the new Frozen musical will hire some of them into developmental roles?
What Do These Disneyland Closures Mean?
These closures likely mean that the Rivers of America and the Disneyland Railroad will be heavily impacted by the new Star Wars Land addition. When the Indiana Jones Adventure was constructed, the water ways of the Jungle Cruise had to be altered to properly fit the new attraction. Perhaps similar accommodations are being made in the Rivers of America area. For quite a long time, there have been rumors of connecting Critter Country and Frontierland around the backside of the river. If they are finally going forward with this plan to create a path, then that would explain the long closure.
In regards to the Disneyland Railroad, Adrienne over at Mouse Planet suggests that the construction of Star Wars Land may require a rerouting of the Disneyland Railroad. She questions whether they want to avoid using the same style of bridge and tunnel entrance that is used going into Toontown. This would make an already thematically rough transition from Frontierland into Star Wars Land more difficult. Perhaps they will either move the railroad in closer into the park or push it all the way to the outside of the new berm along the outer edge of Star Wars Land.
Disneyland Public Relations has no comment regarding our speculation at this time.
Also, be sure to check out one of my favorite documentaries, Waking Sleeping Beauty, that was narrated and directed by Don Hahn. This is the story of how Disney Animation went from their worst years the renaissance period.
Finally, we discussed the new PBS Documentary, “Walt Disney: American Experience.” This new four hour feature will document all sides of Walt Disney. Most incredibly, the Walt Disney Company has no final say journalistic say over the film. The heads of the company will see the documentary, with the public when it airs on PBS on September 14 and 15.
Special Thanks to You:
The Disney Dose podcast is a bi-weekly production put on every week for you, the Disney enthusiast. Please let me know if you are enjoying the show by leaving a review on iTunes. You can also contact us to share your thoughts and show ideas. Contact me here.
Frozen the Musical will open in Summer 2016 in the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure, replacing Aladdin the Musical Spectacular. The last showing for Aladdin will be on January 10, 2016. Be sure to follow along on our Facebook page and join our newsletter for coverage of the final performance.
Below is an article from October of 2014 where we reported the rumor that Aladdin would be replaced by Tangled the Musical. Since then we have learned that the Tangled the Musical that was in development was put on the Disney Cruise Line. But, we were correct that the Aladdin show was headed out the door.
This announcement of the new Frozen show has left me wondering if the theater will go through any major renovation before the addition of Ana and Elsa. Read the original story for all of our speculation and comments. What are your thoughts on the addition of yet another Frozen show?
Original Article from 10/26/14 Below————-
For years, Aladdin the Musical Spectacular inside of Disney California Adventure has been rumored to be closing. Now, we have a likely timeline for the creation and installation of another musical that will take the place of Aladdin when the show ends sometime around the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.
Disney California Adventure’s Aladdin the Musical Spectacular has been performing for more than 11 years. There is no other show in Disneyland park that has lasted this long save for “Fantasmic!”. Back in 2012, Disney attempted to remove Aladdin to replace the show with Toy Story. After the uproar of the fans, the new Toy Story show was cancelled.
The Genie is one of my favorite characters in all of Disneyland. See our post dedicated to the actors who bring this character to life daily in the Aladdin show by clicking here.
There are rumblings that Aladdin is on the short list to be replaced sometime in late 2015 or early 2016. This entire project rests on the completion date of Shanghai Disneyland, which is officially scheduled for late 2015 but will probably end up closer to early 2016. This has been confirmed by sources inside management at Disneyland and by the fact that Bob Iger has extended his career as President and CEO until 2018. This is supposedly to make sure Shanghai Disneyland, which is intended to be his crowning jewel, is fully up and running.
Once Shanghai Disneyland has opened to the public, many of the entertainment producers and Walt Disney Imagineers will once again turn their focus to the stateside parks. Also, the creative budgets will be largely freed up as this huge project comes to a close.
With the new production, there could be a full renovation of the Hyperion Theater. This large theater can seat up to 2,000 people. When Disney California Adventure was built, the original plan was for the creation of a large traditional theater lobby with room for restrooms and concessions. One of the goals of this version of the theater was to host large award shows and other functions. While the theater could never become home to the Oscars– Dolby Theater holds more than 3,000 people and has one of the largest stages in the world– many of the smaller industry specific shows would be possible. This of course would be the most extensive possible plan and I don’t see a renovation this size happening until the rumored Disney California Adventure renovation part 2. In this second phase of renovation, the Imagineers would attack the Hollywoodland Area, re-theming much of the land. A wait and see approach is recommended for this one. Could be a long wait….
There are a couple of possibilities for the new show that will replace Aladdin. Many sources point to the new Tangled the Musical that will be debuting on the Disney Cruise Line. Since 2013, This show will debut onboard the Disney Magic in 2015. Back in 2011 when Toy Story the Musical was announced to be replacing Aladdin, Toy Story was performing aboard the Disney Wonder. The current rumor is that Tangled will debut on the Disney Cruise Line in 2015, enjoy a two year run, and then the show will be enlarged and sent to Disney California Adventure.
There is also the recently opened Aladdin show on Broadway in New York. The stars of the show, TONY James Monroe Iglehart and Adam Jacobs, assured me during an interview on the Disney Dose podcast that the Broadway version was quite different than the one found in Disney California Adventure. However, you have to assume Disney Theatrical would prefer to be the only people showing Aladdin. A new cast will debut the show in Tokyo this May and other touring casts are sure to follow.
The final piece of this puzzle is Beauty and the Beast– Live on Stage. This show has been running for 23 years in Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. So, this one will be a battle. If Tangled the Musical proves to be as successful as expected on the Disney Cruise Line, both Walt Disney World and Disneyland will attempt to move the production to their resort.
What do you think of these rumors about Aladdin? I personally have always enjoyed the show even though I have seen it SO MANY TIMES! Are you ready for a switch? Or should Aladdin stick around for another ten years similar to the Beauty and the Beast Show in Orlando?
That’s up to the Disneyland Resort and for us to find out. I hope that you enjoyed this news brief, I highly recommend you sign up for the Disney Dose newsletter and our Facebook page for more on the future of Disneyland and fun articles weekly.