I am guest blogging over at DisneyAvenue today. You can read about my visit to the newest quick-service restaurant, Smokejumpers Grill, at Disney California Adventure. Check out my photos and thoughts about all the details that went into this newly remodeled location that was formerly Taste Pilot's Grill.
Looks like Sleeping Beauty Castle received some bling last week. With about 2 months to go until Disneyland's 60th Diamond Celebration beings, the Castle seems to get something new every couple of weeks. It sure looks shiny and pretty. The bands on some of the turrets have never been seen before. Perhaps the accessorizing will be part of some projection or light up magic. The blue swags on each side of the Castle is also new.
Finally, my daughter pointed out these new mini towers that are located on each side of the Castle area. Maybe they contain some projection equipment. Or maybe there are pixies or fairies who live inside and are planning some kind of magical fireworks show.
Disney Parks Blog also released THIS VIDEO that gave a pretty good peak at the 500 merchandise items that will be available for the Diamond Celebration. Better start making your list and saving some money for a special 60th keepsake.
Sending you some pixie dust today!
This weekend, daughter #2 was part an ensemble production titled, Myth Adventures. It was a loose interpretation of several Greek mythological figures. They did a great job and I enjoyed the modern overlay.
There were months of preparations and a full week of tech rehearsals. The cast is made up of only junior high kids so all this was done in midst of their weekly school schedule and homework load. I kept thinking how much endurance they had to have, especially through tech week. Their efforts reminded me of the song, Go the Distance, from Disney's 35th animated film, Hercules (1997).
The music was written by Disney Legend Alan Menken and lyrics by David Zippel. This song was nominated for both an Academy Award (Original Song) and Golden Globes (Best Original Song - Motion Picture) losing only to to a song that you might have heard of, My Heart Will Go On (Titantic). Go the Distance is Hercules' theme song as he makes a journey to find his real parents and learn about his potential to be a hero. My favorite cover of this song is one sung by Lucas Grabeel from the DisneyMania 5 collection.
The lyrics reminded me of my daughter's play and her fellow cast members as they endured the hours of rehearsals, in addition to their normal school workload, that eventually led them to a successful opening weekend.
I am on my way
I can go the distance
I don't care how far
Somehow I'll be strong
I know every mile
Will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere to find where I belong
When you spend time with a close group of kids trying to get to the same goal, a sense of belonging does occur. You can tell there is a bond with the Myth Adventures ensemble. They went the distance. These young aspiring actors are my heroes.
Happy Music Monday!
The wines that are served in this location are identified as Disney's Family of Wines. According to the Disney Parks Blog, the wine selection is "a diverse collection that displays qualities long identified with Walt Disney and The Walt Disney Company, carrying on the Disney legacy and typifying the passion, innovation and quality that the name Disney symbolizes".
Disney Legend, Fess Parker, is most famous for portraying Davy Crocket that was featured in several episodes in the 1954 show, The Wonderful World of Disney. Parker, as Davy Crocket, would make the coonskin cap famous due to the popularity of the series. (The Winery even sells a coonskin wine topper and a coonskin cap).
In 1987, Parker purchased property in Santa Barbara which would eventually become Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard. Parker was actively involved in the growth and success of his winery. The Winemaker event was not only an opportunity to discover and taste the Fess Parker wines, but also a chance to hear some family stories from Parker's son, Eli Parker.
The Wine Tasting
Besides the featured wines, the event also gave allowed resident chef, Jorge Cruz, to create some tasteful small plates to pair with each glass. There were four wines presented and each one came with a delicious and beautiful plate of food.
It was a very enjoyable and tasty event. Seating was very limited so it was an intimate event. I learned a little about Fess Parker and his relationship to the Disney company. I learned a lot about Fess Parker Wines. The food was delicious and paired nicely with all the wine offerings. My favorite wine was Rodney's Vineyard Syrah. I just like that peppery red wine. The service was Disney excellent. The bonus part of the event was the view from the terrace.
If you ever need a place to relax and want to have some wonderful California, Disney's Family Wines, visit this location. There is actually a bar on the first level where you can purchase wine by the glass.
"The Alfresco Tasting Terrace daily menu features Mediterranean-inspired appetizers and wines from the “Disney Family of Wines” — consisting of eight California vintners chosen because of their personal relationship with the Disney name.
The “family of eight” includes Chappellet Winery, Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, Frank Family Vineyards, Gogi, Lasseter Family Winery, MacMurray Ranch, Silverado Vineyards and Skywalker Vineyards." (from Disney Parks Blog)
Cheers to you!
Written in 1948 by Al Hoffman, Mack David, and Jerry Livingston for the 1950 animated Disney classic, it is the "magic song" that the Fairy Godmother sings to cast Cinderella's magical transformation.
I love the Fairy Godmother for her enthusiasm and hope for making dreams come true. The lyrics are so fun:
Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
Put 'em together and what have you got
Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
It'll do magic believe it or not
Salagadoola means mechicka booleroo
But the thingmabob that does the job is
Salagadoola menchicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
Put 'em together and what have you got
Those are some good words to remember for a Scrabble game.
Did you know that you can walk inside Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland? Don't you want to know what's inside? It is pretty narrow inside but you are able to go inside.
You can find my photo journal and recent visit to the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough over at DisneyAvenue. It's my guest post every other Thursday called, "A Walk Through the Park: Disneyland Edition".
There are a couple more things to see in the back area of the Sleeping Beauty Castle area. For example, look for this lovely bronze statuette of Sleeping Beauty and Prince Philip. Fun picture spot, too. I love the fairies around her dress. They are ready to change the color of Sleeping Beauty's dress.
If you look towards the middle of the castle walkway, you'll see this ornate chandelier clock. Most people miss it. Despite all the rumors and fan lore, Disney Parks recently confirmed that the clock has simply has never worked since its installment in 1966.
Not too far under the chandelier clock, you'll find a marker on the ground. There is even more rumors and lore around this "golden spike". The most popular story is that it marks the center of Disneyland (before Toontown was built). Someone even wrote up a "mythbuster-type" analysis. Some say it marks the centerline of Main Street, USA. I personally think it is a survey marker. There are actually lots of survey markers all around Disneyland as proven at this website.
Here's hoping your wishes come true today,
I discovered two things over the weekend. First, Merida, the heroine from BRAVE, is the only Disney princess who does not sing a song in a Disney movie. Second, the British band Mumford & Sons, is releasing a new album in May. I just thought it was fun that these two things I learned are somehow connected to each other.
Mumford & Sons wrote the song Learn Me Right for Brave. It is sung by another British artist known as Birdy. You hear the song during the closing credits of the movie. Mumford & Sons actually reworked this particular song for their Grammy winning album, Babel, and released it as Not With Haste. It sounds almost the same but with different lyrics.
There is one more thing I learned about the music from Brave and that is that most of the score was composed by Patrick Doyle. He is an accomplished composer who usually collaborates with actor and director, Kenneth Branagh. Have you made another Disney connection yet? Branagh is the director for the new live-action Disney movie, Cinderella, that comes out in the theater this weekend. Doyle composed the music for this new movie.
To start your week, I'll leave with these lyrics from Learn Me Right:
We will be who we are
And they’ll heal our scars
Sadness will be far away
Happy Music Monday!
After our time at the Disney Legends Plaza, we finally found our way to the Disney Archives. Located inside the Frank G. Wells Building, the Disney Archives is simply a treasure itself. I am excited to share some of the unique Disney items we were able to see.
Upon entering, the first thing you see is a recreation of an animator's office. This is what it may have looked like back in the 1940s. The giant Walt Disney cutout greeting you is kinda cool, too.
There were these glass cases filled with all kinds of Disney artifacts related to the Parks, films, and Walt Disney. My kids got a kick out of the original Parent Trap dolls from the credits. It's one of their favorite Disney classic movies. It was a thrill to see some of Walt Disney's personal effects like his glasses and business cards.
Walking further into the room, you can't help notice another wall filled top to bottom with all kinds of Disney related books. This is not their entire collection but these provide the archivists with lots of information.
These particular Disney Archive books were the most fascinating to me. These blue n books are a collection of the Disneyland Cast Member weekly publication known as, The Disneyland Line. They actually have a copy of all the other Cast Member publications from all the Disney Parks. The brown books are a collection of original newspaper clippings about the death of Walt Disney. There are 20 volumes on this topic alone.
Here are a couple other items that I found interesting. The first is the Disney crest. You can compare with the one that adorns Sleeping Beauty Caste (Disneyland).
Our tour guide pointed out the following drawing. Most people don't think of Walt Disney as a cartoonist, but he actually began his career by selling his work. He had even taken classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Here is an example of his drawing skills.
There were some of John Hench Mickey Mouse art as well as some other pretty Disney originals to lend some decor in the Disney archives. It is actually also a working office for the Disney Archivists.
The Disney Archivists were also kind enough to let us hold one of Walt's actual Oscar statutes. The first thing that you discover is how heavy it is. It weighs around 8 lbs. This one is Walt's statuette that he received for Best Short Subject 2 Reel (1953).
My kids really got a thrill taking turns holding it and practicing their Oscar acceptance speeches. It made for a highlight of our visit. If you want to see most of the Oscars that Walt received in his lifetime, including the special one he received for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, they have them on display at the Walt Disney Family Museum.
Next week, I will share one final post about my tour of the Walt Disney Studios. It was really a wonderful and lengthy tour that my family was able to experience. If you missed my other post, you can catch up here:
My Visit to the Walt Disney Studios (Part 1: General Walking Tour)
My Visit to the Walt Disney Studios (Part 2: Studio Lot)
My Visit to the Walt Disney Studios (Part 3: The Rotunda)
My Visit to the Walt Disney Studios (Part 4: Legends Plaza)
Wishing you a great weekend! Don't forget to change your clocks tomorrow, too!
Here's a little extra today.
Okay, so I am on a Big Hero 6 kick lately. I loved it when I first saw it back in the fall. I've watched the movie twice since we bought a couple weeks ago. I enjoyed watching all the extra clips. The character, Baymax, is so endearing and he definitely creates moments in the movie. It's fun to introduce Big Hero 6 and Baymax to others.
I am a papercrafter, too. I love making cards since they are are instant and then you can share them with special people. Who doesn't love getting a handmade, handwritten note in the age of the email?
With just a limited supply with the circle punch being the most important, here's me Baymax friendship card.
Sending you a virtual fistbump
In the words of Baymax: "Bah-a-la-la-la"
Last week, Disney's Big Hero 6 won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It's for all ages. I've seen it three times and each screening still felt like an emotional roller coaster with many tears during some heart tugging moments.
Big Hero 6 does not feature any musical numbers performed by the characters. There is a scene in the film where the characters come to realize their potential as heroes working together for a cause. The music that accompanies this footage is called Immortals performed and written by rock band, Fall Out Boy. The song sets the tone of anticipation and hope that lies within this group underdogs preparing to take on the bad guy.
Big Hero 6 is the first Marvel story that Disney took on since the Marvel purchase in 2009. Disney did a great job to take this Marvel story and tell it through some Disney eyes and heart.
If you haven't seen this award winning movie, make some time to see it. You'll be glad you did. If you have seen it, get someone who hasn't seen it to watch it with you...plus have some tissue handy.
Happy Music Monday!
Last week, Disney California Adventure hosted Lunar New Year at Paradise Gardens (Paradise Pier). There were lots of activities offered including, crafts, food, and entertainment. Here is a quick video I prepared to share some highlights of this holiday celebration.
For detailed information and more photos, you can see my related article today over at Disney Avenue.
Disney Legends Plaza is the area in front of the Team Disney Building. It is a large patio area that honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Disney legacy. These Imagineers, artists, actors, songwriters, and business execs whose names and handprints are featured on bronze plaques are known as Disney Legends. We spent a good amount of time looking at many of them and learning about their contribution to Disney milestones.
Each Disney Legend is awarded a beautiful statute. The statue was designed by Andrea Favilli. Check out this video where Favilli reveals some cool details about his sculpture. At the entrance of the Plaza you this huge Disney Legend sculpture so that you can get a good look at all the details mentioned on the video.
There are two more bronze sculptures to see in Disney Legends Plaza. These are both designed by Disney Legend, Blain Gibson. The first here is of Roy O. Disney sitting on a bench with Minnie Mouse. The empty spot was on purpose, as if they are waiting for Mickey or Walt to join them. You can also find this statue at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
It was really a thrill to be able to spend time at Legends Plaza and learn about the many Disney Legends that have contributed much to the Disney story. It was a great family afternoon of discovery involving all things Disney.
Our next stop after the plaza was the Walt Disney Archives. I'll share some of the Disney treasures that we were able to see at the Archives.
See you real soon!
- My Visit to the Walt Disney Studios (Part 1: General Walking Tour)
- My Visit to the Walt Disney Studios (Part 2: Studio Lot)
- My Visit to the Walt Disney Studios (Part 3: The Rotunda)
For me, one of the great moments from the 87th Academy Awards show last night happened right after the Sound of Music medley to commemorate its 50th anniversary. When Disney Legend and Academy Award Winner Julie Andrews came out to acknowledge Lady Gaga's amazing performance, it was "practically perfect in every way".
In 1965, the 37th Academy Awards presented Andrews with a Best Actress Oscar for her leading role in Mary Poppins. Disney Legends, Robert and Richard Sherman, also won for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for Chim Chim Cher-ee.
Chim Chim Cher-ee is Bert's (the chimney sweep) theme song. The character of Bert is portrayed by Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke. The story goes that this song was inspired by storyboard drawings from Mary Poppins' screenwriter, Don DaGradi. DaGradi explained how in British folklore, chimney sweeps were signs of good luck. Here are some of lyrics that the Sherman Brothers came up with:
Chim chim cher-ee!
A sweep is as lucky
As lucky can be…
…Good luck will rub off when
I shake ‘ands with you
Or blow me a kiss
And that’s lucky too.
It's become an iconic Disney tune. You can hum this Oscar winning song and most people can join you. Now you know it's about good luck.
So next time you run into a chimney sweep, shake hands or blow 'em a kiss for luck.
Happy Music Monday,
I love Oscar Sunday. My grandmother and her sister were big movie fans so I learned early about movie stars and watched many classic movies with them. My family loves going to the movies and seeing some great stories and performances on the big screen. We like a variety of movies and pay attention to the films that come out during the fall and winter in hopes of being talked about during awards season.
So when we went to the Walt Disney Studio several weeks ago, we all were excited to view some of the Oscars that were awarded to Walt Disney. What was most fun was to actually hold one of his awards. The Walt Disney Archives were so kind to share and let us hold this Oscar that Disney won for producing Best Short Subject (1953) for Bear Country.
The Oscar statue is pretty heavy. It weighs 8 1/2 pounds. You always see how the recipients are a little taken back at how heavy it is. We all took turns holding it. One of my kids practiced her acceptance speech. We had to remind her to thanks her parents.
Disney holds the most Academy Award nominations at 59. There are lots of fun facts in relation to Disney and the Oscars. If you get a chance to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, you can see more of the Oscar statues that were awarded to Disney, including the special Oscar he received for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
I am a big fan of NPH (Neil Patrick Harris) so I am looking forward to him hosting the 87th Academy Awards. I am still working on my picks but I think I have it narrowed down. We always try to plan a fun meal for the Oscar show and look to the Best Picture Nominees for ideas. This year, we decided that based on the number of British films and actors nominated, we are making Shepherd's pie and having some fish and chips, too. My husband, MacSparky, refers to Oscar Sunday as "my Superbowl". Secretly he enjoys watching it, too. It's a family affair.
And the Oscar goes to.....
I have a friends and family that are going through the extreme cold weather back East. I wanted to share with them and you these fun Playbill - Frozen mashup covers that Playbiil shared several weeks ago when Broadway went dark due to the extreme snow. I thought it was clever. See if you know all of them.