Disneyland Explored

Disneyland explored.

Write this Way - Disney Letterhead

I love all kinds of stationary and that includes really fun letterhead. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, letterhead is defined as follows:

the name and address of an organization (such as a company) that is printed at the top of a piece of paper used for writing official letters; also : paper that has the name and address of an organization printed at the top

I usually go on eBay to see what kind of Disney type of stationary is out there. Over the years that the Walt Disney Company has been around, there has been letterhead for their movie productions, Park divisions, and other Disney events. Whenever there is name change for Disney divisions or logo updates, there is new letterhead. When I worked at Disneyland, I received variety of correspondence that included special letterhead to commemorate milestones like Park anniversaries. 

Here's one example of Disneyland letterhead that was used in the 1990s. Remember that this time period is before the existence of Disney California Adventure. 

circa 1990s - Classic Disneyland letterhead

circa 1990s - Classic Disneyland letterhead

Disneyland letterhead designed for 40th Anniversary, 1995

Disneyland letterhead designed for 40th Anniversary, 1995

Disneyland Resort Letterhead design, 2001

Disneyland Resort Letterhead design, 2001

I recently discovered a retro pack of Disney letterhead compiled by the Walt Disney Archives that I purchased through Amazon. There are two different versions and each has 40 sheets of letterhead (5 each of 8 designs).

It is going to be fun to mail some of these out to my reproductions to my friends who are Disney fans. Getting some pretty snail mail these days is a plus. I posted another idea in this post about an idea of how to turn some of this Disney letterhead into a reusable memo board. 

A couple years ago, I discovered this really great site called, Letters of Note. I liked it for not just some of the awesome post of correspondence from famous people but it really highlights the art to letter writing through decades. You can do a search on this site for "Disney" or "Walt Disney" and there are several blog posts related to specific Disney letters like this one and my one of favorites from Disney Legend Ward Kimball on Walt Disney Productions letterhead. 

Take some time to write a note to a special someone and put it in the mail. 

Have a magical day!



Music Monday: Human Again (Beauty & the Beast, Broadway Musical)

The other day I posted 3 Things I Learned About Beauty & the Beast on Its 25th Anniversary and last Monday, I had featured the song Belle. So, let's stay on this Beauty and the Beast train. Today, Disney released a trailer for their LIVE action Beauty and the Beast movie that will debut March 17, 2017. It's really a teaser trailer. 

The song Human Again was originally written for the 1991 release by Howard Ashman (lyrics) and Alan Menken (music). This particular song was not used in the movie for a couple reasons: It was too long (originally at 11 minutes) and didn't fit anywhere in the story. In 1994, Beauty and the Beast made its Broadway musical debut. Human Again had been re-worked by Menken and found a place within the Broadway version. Then in 2002, the original movie production team that consisted of Don Hahn, Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale decided to include a new sequence for this special Beauty and the Beast DVD release with this song. 

When I went to view the movie at the 25th Anniversary special event, this new sequence and song was not included in the film. It was not part of the original 70mm film so that made sense to me. Human Again will also not be a part of the 2017 Live Action movie.

Happy Music Monday!


The Day Disney Dollars Died

As of May 15, 2015, Disney Dollars are no longer available at the Disney Parks. What began as idea from Disneyland Silhouette Artist, Harry Brice, who told Disneyland President, Jack Lindquist, about "Disney money," Disney Dollars was actual legal currency that was considered actual "cash" accepted at all Disney Parks, Disney Cruise Ships and Disney Stores. There was a lot of work that went into its design and production that included special printing plates to prevent counterfeit copies. 

You could ask for special envelopes to protect your Disney money. 

You could ask for special envelopes to protect your Disney money. 

Disney Dollars were available in $1, $5, and $10 denominations. It was a one for one exchange, No additional fees. It cost $1 to buy a $1 Disney Dollar. You would purchase them to enhance your Disney Parks experience. Lots of people would purchase Disney Dollars to keep as a souvenir. Before Disney Gift Cards, some would purchase Disney Dollars to give as a gift. There were different designs to commemorate Disney company milestones like Mickey's birthday or big Disney Park anniversaries. 

Front view

Front view

Back view

Back view

Last Thursday, May 12, 2016, it was hastily announced that Disney Dollars would no longer be available after Saturday, May 14, 2016. While they will still be accepted like "cash" at any Disney Parks, Disney Cruise Lines and Disney Stores,  they will no longer be available for purchase. 

Disney Dollar designed for Mickey Mouse 80th Anniversary

Disney Dollar designed for Mickey Mouse 80th Anniversary

I suspect that Disney Dollars was going through a slow death with decline of people simply not using cash. The rise of credit cards and electronic payments encourage people to not have to carry any kind of cash in their wallets. Disneyland began its 60th Celebration last year and there was no new Disney Dollar design for this big milestone. This announcement was not a big surprise as it just seems like it was coming. Disney Dollars are now just another chapter for the Disney Parks history. 

There are plenty of Disney Dollar collectors out there who have collections to share or want to complete a particular Disney Dollar set. Disney Dollars remain available through eBay sellers. If you want to learn more about Disney Dollars, check out the video below or visit this unofficial website that can answer most of your Disney Dollar questions. They have some past designs to view, too. 

Jack Lindquist receives much of the credit for the creation and marketing of Disney Dollars. Listen to Disney Avenue's interview with Lindquist and you can hear him talk about Disney Dollars (listen at around 42:00). Lindquist recently passed away this past February. 

RIP Disney Dollars.


Music Monday: Belle (from Beauty & the Beast)

One of my favorite Disney characters is Belle from the 30th animated feature film Beauty and the Beast (1991). We meet her at the very beginning of the movie with her song, Belle.  Written by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman, epic song plays like an operetta-like production that reveals much about Belle's character. Disney Legend Paige O'Hara provided the acting and singing voice for Belle. 

A couple years ago, I was able to attend a D23 special presentation where Menken was on stage for about an hour and spoke of some of the stories behind his Disney songs. Watch this video (start at 12:33) and hear how the song Belle came to life. Initially, Ashmen and Menkin thought that this song was a little long and would not get a green light. 

Belle was nominated for for the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the 64th Academy Awards (1992). Another song from this movie would go on to win the actual Oscar for Best Original Song, Beauty and the Beast.  

Since the movie's debut 25 years ago, there has been a successful Broadway musical adaptation. There is a current Beauty and the Beast Musical that is on tour. The story and music remain timeless. The opening song, Belle, is really one of the most memorable scenes in the Disney animated film library.

One final note: There has been an on-going fan theory that there is a Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin connection in this particular song. The moment when Belle enters the bookshop and chooses a book that she has already read, she claims it is her favorite because of the "far off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, a prince in disguise." What do you think? Is it plausible?

Happy Music Monday!


Shop Disney: Disney Parks Snowglobes

In the late 1990s, there was a huge selection of snow globes at Disneyland. I remember how popular they were by the amount of snow globes I rang up as a Main Street Merchandise Cast Member. There was a big variety of Disney themed snow globes that were available at both Disneyland and the Disney Stores, too. In the past several months, I have noticed some Disney snow globes popping up in the Disneyland stores. 

The Disneyland Castle (Sleeping Beauty Castle) snow globe has a great decorative detail. It also plays "When You Wish Upon a Star."

There are also a couple of snow globes to commemorate the Disneyland 60th Celebration.

I found some smaller, plastic snow globes at the World of Disney store. These are geared more for kids and kind of remind you of the basic souvenir-style model. 

There several different ones available online through the Disney Stores. The Bradford Exchange has some fun holiday and more Disney snow globes, too.  If you purchase a snow globe and have to travel, you can go HERE to find out about TSA guidelines when it comes to trying to get your Disney snow globe home:

Snow globes that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces of liquid (approximately tennis ball size) can be packed in your carry-on bag ONLY if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit into your one quart-sized, resealable plastic bag. Each passenger can only bring one quart-sized bag with 3.4oz or smaller containers. Larger snowglobes must be packed in checked baggage.
Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.

Some Disney signage about traveling snow globes.

Some Disney signage about traveling snow globes.

Snow globes are a fun way to remember your Disneyland trip and to always think of fond Disney memories. They make great gifts for any Disney fan. 

Happy Shopping!


Music Monday: Revisiting Jabba Flow (Star Wars: Force Awakens)

A couple weeks ago I featured "Jabba Flow" which was the music that played in the background during a scene from Star Wars: Force Awakens. Last week, on May the 4th, as part of the weekly Ham4Ham show, both JJ Abrams and Lin-Manuel Miranda performed their original composition. Watch the video below to get a good back story of how how this song came to be. It's great to hear the song's history directly from Abrams and Miranda. 

They announced that the song is now available on iTunes. Hmmm, don't you wonder what else Miranda and Abrams were talking about. I am sure Jabba Flow is just the beginning of this collaboration and I would be happy to see more in the future. 

The Force is Strong!


Photo Tour: 2016 Disney CA Adventure Food & Wine Festival

These are the final days to experience Food & Wine as Sunday, May 1st will be the last day.

The 2016 Food and Wine Festival at Disney California Adventure (DCA) has been a fun event offering. First, I think it's great that DCA finally has something exciting offered at this Park (vs. Disneyland). Second, how can you not love an event that has special food and wine offerings?

Each event booth has been inspired by California cuisine. There is a special Food & Wine Map that you can pick up to guide you. Here is my photo tour of the Festival Marketplace.

LA Style:  Celebrating the ethnic food fusion in the LA scene.

The Vineyard and Wine Country: Celebration of the Northern California vineyards and farms.

!Viva Fresca!: Experience Mexican inspired favorites made with some street flair.

Gold Rush: Try some small plates that reflect the California spirit.

The Farm: These dishes are packed with flavor and have that "farm to table" note. 

By the Bay: Delicious food offerings to celebrate the San Francisco area. 


There are a total of 8 Festival Marketplace booths to visit. Two of them sell only alcoholic drinks while the other six have a combination of food and drinks. Some of the nearby restaurants offer Festival inspired items. 

Go early to beat the crowd. The last weekend is sure to be busy. Pace yourself and go with a friend. Visit my post, My 3 Tips for Food & Wine Festival, for more.

Happy Eats!


Green Glass Elephant Spotted in Adventureland

Last spotted at the former Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, the faux green glass elephant was lovingly referred to as "Penny" by many Disneyland fans. 

Photo image from

Photo image from

Regardless of her official name, I spotted the famous elephant in Adventureland. Looks like she now has a new home.

Looks like she now greets Guests as they enter the area near the Jungle Cruise. She sits above the Tropical Imports food stand. Her new home makes sense.  Penny (I'm still gonna call her that) looks happy to be back.

So next time you are in Adventureland, make sure to look up so you can get a glimpse of Penny, the green glass elephant.

Sending you pixie dust!


Music Monday: Jabba Flow from Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The Cantina scene in Star Wars: A New Hope (IV) is a famous scene in part due to the music. Most people can recognize the music that was playing in Mos Eisley's Cantina. That particular tune was written by legendary composer John Williams. In the process of Williams writing the score for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (VII), he told director J.J. Abrams that he wanted to concentrate on the overall score. 

As a result, you hear a tune in the background during the scene when the characters enter Maz Kanata's pirate Castle. It is called "Jabba Flow" which was co-written by J.J. Abrams and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda is best known for being the creator and composer of the Broadway hit, Hamilton. The tune is not available on the Star Wars: The Force Awakens soundtrack. You have to watch the movie to view the specific scene to hear Jabba Flow. However, there was a recent release called Star Wars Headspace. It is a compilation of original electronic dance music (EDM) infused with Star Wars sound clips. 

If you don't have name "Lin-Manuel Miranda" on your Disney radar, start now. Tony award nominations will be announced next week and Hamilton, the musical is favored to dominate the categories. Miranda has also been hard at work by composing some of the music for Disney's 56th animated movie, Moana (November 2016). Today, it was announced that Miranda will also be part of a new Mary Poppin's movie production. It's not a remake of the original but a new movie based off of another P.L. Travers Mary Poppins story. Miranda is slated to co-star in this new movie. Hopefully he will also help write some of the music, too. 

Happy Music Monday!





Star Wars Land Progress: View from Big Thunder Mountain ride

Last week, Disneyland Parks Blog posted this really cool 360 view of Star Wars-Themed Land groundbreaking. If you haven't seen it, take some time to see all the fun details only Disney would put in their photo.

I went to Disneyland yesterday and took the following photos. The most interesting one is this very quick glimpse while riding Big Thunder Mountain. 

The following photos were taken after I got off the ride and walked over to the wall that blocks off Big Thunder Trail.

Finally, if you find yourself parking in the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, You can go up to the top floor and get a really good view of the construction. It is really exciting to see how things are progressing. It's happening!

Believe in the Magic!