I’ve just had a bittersweet Best Week Ever, because I took a weekend away from my usual Orlando assignments to say adieu to some old friends in Anaheim. January 10th marked the last day for a number of Disneyland attractions before Star Wars Land construction commences. Some, like the Railroad and Rivers of America will return next year in an altered form; others, like the Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo, are gone for good. I’ll be covering the closing of these attraction in detail over the coming days, but for this Best Week Ever I want to stash the sayonaras; instead, lets focus on some other experiences I was able to enjoy around the rest of the resort during my 24 hours in Disneyland.
My trip was largely made possible by a ludicrously low airfare ($159 round trip!) I found on Frontier. While I was delighted to get such a cheap seat between MCO and LAX, the airline makes their money back through sky-high baggage fees and some of the least comfortable seating in the sky.
Read our Unofficial review of DCA’s new World of Color Celebrate show starring…wait for it…Neil Patrick Harris (photos by Seth Kubersky).
Nearly two months after after Anaheim kicked off its Diamond Celebration, Disneyland‘s 60th birthday has officially arrived. By now, several members of the Touring Plans team — including Seth Kubersky and Guy Selga — have had a chance to experience the new anniversary nighttime entertainments from multiple angles, so in honor of Disneyland’s big day we’re sharing a sneak preview of the new reviews that we are including in the upcoming Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2016. If you missed our previously published Paint the Night coverage, and Disneyland Forever Fireworks review, check them out now. Then read on for our in-depth review of of the newly revamped World of Color show:
World of Color Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney
Authors’ Rating: 4 stars
World of Color Celebrate! Description and Comments
The 1,200 high-pressure water nozzles installed under the surface of DCA’s Paradise Bay are the infrastructure for Disney’s $75-million attempt to keep guests in the park (and spending money) until closing time. If you’ve seen or heard about the spectacular fountain show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, World of Color – Celebrate is similar but larger, with more special effects and themed to Disney movies.
Though the original version of World of Color was still wildly popular, in honor of Disneyland’s Diamond Anniversary it was completely overhauled and given the new subtitle ‘Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney.’ This new ‘special edition’ of World of Color is explicitly a tribute to Walt Disney the man and his “dreams of Disneyland,” and incorporates classic animated images with live-action footage of Uncle Walt and a new musical score, along with clips from dozens of Disney films, attractions, and characters in its 22-minute performance.
Watch these videos and see World of Color in a whole new way. (images by Seth Kubersky)
Just as Walt famously said that the Disney empire “all started with a mouse,” the magic of Touring Plans all started with a book — namely, the Unofficial Guide. As co-author (with Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa) of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland, I’m proud to announce that preliminary work is complete on the 2015 edition of our Anaheim guidebook, which will make its way to store shelves in plenty of time for the resort’s upcoming 60th anniversary. Naturally, we’ll continue to refine the text right up until the time it is sent to the printers later this year, and we’ll be bringing you details on the changes made to the tome as its publication approaches in the fall. But for now, I wanted to share a tiny taste of a couple of the changes coming to the Unofficial Guide, via a few fun Disney California Adventure videos — featuring the Mariachi Divas and World of Color — that I recorded during my most recent visit to the Happiest Place on Earth.
The Mariachi Divas are one of my favorite under-the-radar entertainment diversions found at Disney California Adventure, but until now they’ve be unjustly under-represented in the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. We’ve rectified that with an an expanded entry on this fabulously festive singing group.
Disney California Adventure is decked out for the holidays. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)
It may not have the six decades of cherished Christmas traditions of its older sibling across the Disneyland Resort esplanade, but don’t dismiss the Disney California Adventure holiday celebrations. The park has made great strides since its Cars Land-fueled rebirth last summer, and this year’s enhanced seasonal offerings are no exception. Once you’ve finished checking out my five favorite Disneyland holiday additions, tackle these top picks among DCA’s Christmas presents.
Buena Vista Street Decor and Shows
As soon as you step through Disney California Adventure’s Art Deco gates into the 1920’s era Buena Vista Street, you’ll notice the seasonal spirit in the shop windows. DCA has been criticized for redecorating the original Imagineer-designed window dispays with non-period merchandise, but the retail corridor’s holiday treatments for 2013 represent a return to form.
A popular Anaheim tradition returns to the resort on the day after Thanksgiving, as fresh handmade candy canes are again available at both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure through Christmas Day. Availability alternates between Disneyland’s Candy Palace (Fridays and Tuesdays) and Disney California Adventure’s Trolley Treats (Mondays and Saturdays) and is strictly limited to about 120 canes per day.
The complete handmade candy cane schedule is as follows:
At Disneyland’s Candy Palace: November 29; December 3, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20.
At DCA’s, Trolly Treats: November 30; December 2, 7, 9, 14, 16, 21.
On Christmas week only, the schedule is Candy Palace on Sunday & Tuesday (Dec 22 & 24) and Trolly Treats on Monday & Wednesday (Dec 23 & 25).
Fresh handmade candy canes sell out quickly, so if you want one you’ll need to secure a wristband at park opening and pick up your candy before 4pm. Candy canes cost $13 each, and no discounts are offered. For more details, check out the full report on the Disney Food Blog.
Are you planning to line up at dawn for one of these delicious holiday treats? Or are you unable to tell the difference between handmade candy canes and the standard store-bought ones? Let us know in the comments below!
The Walt Disney feature animators who originally occupied the Magic of Disney Animation attraction at WDW’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios park were furloughed well over a decade ago. But, for one next week at least, a member of Disney’s animation team will appear at the sister attraction across the country.
On Thursday, October 24, Annual Passholders can attend a free session with Dave Bossert, Producer, Creative Director and Head of Special Projects for for Walt Disney Animation Studios. Bossert will tell behind-the-scenes tales and give “a close-up look at the new Disney Animated app.”
The festivities, which will occur several times daily beginning on November 15, will feature the Three Caballeros (Panchito Pistoles, Jose Carioca, and Donald Duck) along with Mickey and Minnie. Also keep am eye out for Mr. and Mrs. Claus, plus some 12-foot-tall “mojiganga” puppets. In addition to the entertainment and kids activities, which are included with admission, ethnic food will be available for purchase.
Viva Navidad will continue daily through January 6, 2014, and will be joined by a Three Kings Day observance at Disneyland Park on January 3-6. Feliz Navidad!
Some people saw the recent Disney Pictures’ release PLANES as a cynical cash grab that merely made margins modifications to Pixar’s charming CARS franchise…and some other people enjoy Dane Cook. Whichever camp you fall in, you must admit it was inevitable that the anthropomorphized aircraft would eventually arrive in at least one of Mickey’s theme parks.
If you are into the wonderful world of collecting runDisney medals, you undoubtedly already know that this weekend is not only Labor Day, but also the sold-out Half-Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort. But even if the only Disney running you do is to Peter Pan at rope drop, you should be aware of the athletic activities in case you were planning on an early morning visit to the Anaheim parks in the next few days.
Race-related activities kicks off this morning with the Disneyland Health & Fitness Expo, which continues until 5pm Saturday at the Disneyland Hotel. On Saturday (8/31) the 5k Family Fun Run and 10k race start at 5:15am and 6:15am, respectively, with Kids Races held in Downtown Disney at 10am. Finally, the Pasta in the Park party takes over a corner of Disneyland at 6pm (separate ticket required, sold-out).
In keeping with Disney’s current “Christmas in July” Limited Time Magic promotion, Disneyland Resort made a surprise announcement today and revealed an all-new “Winter Dreams” version of the uber-popular World of Color nighttime show, coming exclusively to Disney California Adventure this holiday season.
The revamped show will debut on November 15, 2013, and is expected to run nightly through New Year’s 2014. The new show will be hosted by Olaf, a snowman character from the upcoming CGI animated film Frozen, and also feature winter-inspired elements from classic films like Bambi and Toy Story.