04 May 2016

Disneyland: Entertainment

Ok guys, 
here's part 3 of the Disneyland series!
Now we need to talk about Entertainment!
Now when I say "Entertainment"
I mean: shows, fireworks, parades, characters, character dining!
So let's go over shows that are available right now
at the parks.
With the building of Star Wars Land,
a lot is closed at Disneyland during construction.
Luckily only one show is closed during that time,
sadly it's my favorite show, Fantasmic!
but I'll describe that at another date hahaha 
Ok so first: Parades/Fireworks
I love me a good parade!
(I also love going on rides during parades cuz lines are so much smaller!)
Currently the only parade happening right now is Paint the Night.
(although I'm halfway positive they're still doing the Soundsational Parade
during the day sometimes so just check the schedule 
at the front of the park entrance) 
Remember those stands with the maps we talked about in Disneyland 101?
There's a schedule there too that will tell you the times of every show available that day! 
(please forgive the SnapChat story haha
it's the only evidence I have of the parade and the fireworks!)

I loved it the first time I saw it in December,
and then we watched with the girls in April and I about died from excitement,
and the girls' eyes never closed.
Not even a blink!
The fireworks show is right after the Paint the Night parade!
So if you find that perfect spot where you can see the castle
(this show also projects onto Small World and the Matterhorn Mountain)
then stay there for both the parade and the fireworks and you're set!
Now, the seats we had, we had to save like 4 hours in advance.
Yes. You read that correctly.
If you want certain places along the parade route, you have to plan early!
And people start lining up really early!

The current fireworks show is the one they designed for the
 60th anniversary of Disneyland.
It's Diamond Celebration.
They call it Disneyland Forever
And it gets you right in the heart strings!
There's a song at the end called
"A Kiss Goodnight"
and I cry every time I hear it.
Walt wanted his guests to feel at home at his park,
so when they went home he wanted them to have "a kiss goodnight" with the fireworks.
It was written by Richard Sherman
(one of the brothers that wrote music for Mary Poppins, Small World,
The Carousel of Progress and so much more!) 
It's a must see for any Disney fan.
I get this question more than any other:
"Where can I meet so-and-so?"
Well, let me tell you.
When you first walk in the gates of either park,
there are usually some of the classic characters milling around.

(Ok so this isn't right when you walk in but I have seen Peter Pan at the gates!
This was by the Alice in Wonderland ride!)
 Sometimes it's immediately when you walk in
(in front of the Mickey flowers and train station)
or in Town Square
(where Main Street begins)
or on Buena Vista Street in DCA.

 In DCA, the characters wear their 20s garb!
It's adorable!
Usually the Fab 5 are out 
(Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto)
and the Chipmunks
(Chip and Dale).
They don't necessarily all come out at the same time 
but they rotate around there
in the mornings and at night.
Sometime you can even catch Pinocchio, Max, Alice, Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts,
Brer Fox (he's from Song of the South/Splash Mountain).
It really depends on staffing and what costumes are available.

You will ALWAYS find Mickey at his house!
He lives in ToonTown behind Small World
(yes, it's a long walk haha)
but he's always there for pictures.
Minnie is frequently at her house as well
(right next door to Mickey of course)
and you can see Goofy wandering around sometimes.

Tinkerbell and the Fairies.
This is tricky.
It used to be Tink and then 1-2 of her fairy friends.
Well, now it's 1-3 fairies in general,
you might not get to see Tink.
So decide if it's worth the risk to you before you get in line. 
There are cast members there that you can ask who's
in Pixie Hollow at the time but the fairies rotate often so beware!

Doc and Sofia and Jake
You can find these iconic Disney Junior characters
outside the Animation Studio in HollywoodLand
in DCA!
Rory and Jade are both huge fans
and Jade was so close to letting go of me to say hi to Sofia 
but stayed with me anyway 
but she talked to her which is huge hahaha
 (ok all these pictures are of Rory in different stages of trips hahaha)
Oh the princesses!
Sometimes they'll just walk around the park,
or be up by the castle 
or right when you first walk in
the gates of Disneyland.
(you'll only find the princesses at Disneyland,
except for Anna and Elsa who love in Arendelle
over in DCA!
Or if you dine at Ariel's Grotto in DCA!)
They have their own residence now in Disneyland between Frontierland
and Fantasyland

 (if you're looking at the castle, it's on your left!)
called Fantasy Faire,
they do shows, have meet and greets
(Flynn and Rapunzel and Merida)
 and in the tower there are usually 3-4 princesses
(usually the "classic" princesses)
in there waiting to meet you!
Again, it rotates often so you can go back as many times as you want!
Note: Aurora and Snow White also frequent the wishing well by the castle,
and are more likely to be at the well than the tower!

Wanna meet Mater, Lightning McQueen or Red the Fire Engine??
They're at the Cozy Cone Motel all day! 
Character Dining
Another big question people ask me about.
All of these restaurants require reservations 60 days in advance.
I think you can attempt to go without one but why risk that!?
I, personally, have only done 2 of the choices haha
I have dined (2 times) at Goofy's Kitchen and once at Ariel's Grotto.
And honestly,
they were both good for different reasons.
Goofy's Kitchen (In the Disneyland Hotel)
6 years ago had about 9-10 characters you could meet 
and they came to your table to talk with you, take pictures, sign autographs, etc.
This last time we went however we only had 5 and I was disappointed.
You get a picture with Goofy at the beginning
(obviously, it's HIS kitchen)
and then we had Minnie, Pluto, Chip and Dale come visit.
Which is still awesome but lackluster for me.
It's a buffet-style dining though, so you can eat your fill and not
worry about extra cost haha
Oh AND they include tip in your total when you pay already! 

Ariel's Grotto I LOVED!
We did breakfast
(which I hear is better food than lunch plus if you're not int seafood, 
try breakfast)
and there was soooo much food!
We met Ariel (obviously)
and then Tiana, Rapunzel, Cinderella and Belle came to each table to chat and take pictures.
Rory was awestruck when we did this.
I'm dying to take her and Jade again now that Jade is old enough to know who they are
(she was 2 months old last time hahaha)
This was an entree dining, not a buffet like most of the others.
However the amount of food left us full for the rest of the day and no,
I'm not even kidding hahaha
Rory's face every time she saw a new princess!

Rapunzel was clearly her favorite this round.
Also fun fact:
This was the same Rapunzel Rory met at Disneyland when she was 7 months old!
We thought this was super special!
Storyteller's Cafe in the Grand Californian
I have not eaten here but I walked by it the last time we went 
and drooled from the smells!
It's on my list of to-eats hahaha
The character dining is only for breakfast 
and it's "Chip and Dale's Critter Breakfast"
PCH Grill in the Paradise Pier Hotel
I haven't done this one either haha 
but my friend Chelsea did it with her girls and she loved it! 
Again, it's for breakfast and called
"Surf's Up! Breakfast with Mickey"

How adorable are her girls!?
Minnie's Breakfast at Plaza Inn
This one is next on my list to do with my kids haha
My friend Sydney and her husband always take their girls to this when they visit.
Only breakfast again
and called "Minnie and Friends - Breakfast in the Park" 

And these girls too!? 
Oh be still my heart!
Fantasmic! is closed (sad face!!!) until Star Wars Land is finished
but there are still a few shows that are fun to watch!
World of Color

 Oh my gosh, what can I NOT say about it!?
It's amazing!
A show using water and lights and music?!
I was super lucky and got to see the first World of Color before any of the guests did
because I was working there the summer it opened.
Seriously one of my best memories
and yes, tears were shed haha
See me there in the tomorrowland outfit?
Yeah, I had to borrow a hoodie to watch the show cuz I wasn't supposed
to wear my costume in the park but forgot clothes to change into!
Right now they've redone the show to "Celebrate!" Walt and the legacy he left behind.
Neil Patrick Harris narrates
and sings in the show and quite honestly, LOVE it!
This last time we went we accidentally ended up in the "wet zone"
and got SOAKED!
But the girls loved it and hello?!
They put "Let It Go" in there so Rory was on top of the world
(and it turned into the coolest sing along hahaha)
Mickey and the Magical Map
I haven't seen this show yet
(I know, shame on me right?!)
but my parents have and they thought it was so cute and clever!
I've seen the set pieces for the show ans I think it looks brilliant
and I can't wait to take the girls on our next family trip!
It's in the Fantasyland Theatre to the far right of Small World ;)
Five and Dime
She's a traveling singer!
This sextet drives around Buena Vista street singing 
all kinds of jazzy tunes 
and they even have Goofy come dressed to the 9's to help them 
out on Buena Vista Street! 
Red Car Trolley Boys
I love the Trolley Boys!
Yes, it's a nod to Newsies and they meet up with Mickey
as he arrives in Hollywood in the 20s just like Walt did!
They sing and dance and ride the trolley to and from their little show on Buena Vista Street
Jedi Training/H.I.T. Training
(Jedi - Disneyland, H.I.T. - DCA)
I have been wanting Rory to do Jedi training since she was born hahaha
She's also a big Star Wars fan and this is perfect for that little padawan!
You now have to register to do Jedi training which to me, is amazing!
They used to just pick kids out of the audience!
Can you imagine the pressure?!
So now, you go to the kiosk by Star Wars Launch Bay
(aka the old Innovations building)
and sign them up there!
In training the kids learn
"the ways of the Force" and how to fight with a lightsaber!
They then have to prove their stuff against either Darth Vader
or an Inquisitor (from Star Wars Rebels).
And eventually they must defeat Darth Maul and their fear to graduate!
It's adorable and super geeky for us nerds hahaha

(this is the older version but same basic concept!!)
Also inside Launch Bay you can take the path of the Jedi 
to meet either Chewbacca or Kylo Ren
depending on whether you choose the light or the dark side!
(On the second floor of Launch Bay is where you can meet Spiderman and Thor!
Captain America and Spiderman also go to HollywoodLand in DCA for pictures!
Look by the Monsters Inc ride)
H.I.T. Training I have not done but it sounds super fun!
You work with the Incredibles to help save the day!!
Disney Junior - Live on Stage!
 Guys this show is so cute I might die haha
Rory and Jade are huge fans of Disney Junior.
Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates are 
some of their favorite shows,
not to mention Mickey Mouse Clubhouse of course! 
In this show you help Mickey and the gang throw a surprise party for Minnie!
But each person needs help with a task
and thanks to Toodles we are able to see Sofia, Doc and Jake solve their problems
and in turn it helps the others figure out their problems too!
Rory loved this so much!
I sat in there with her
(Jade opted for a ride with Daddy)
and just watched her watch the show.
Yes, I did video almost the entire thing,
I mean we were literally IN the front!
But I will spare you the entire show,
just go see it with your kiddos!
SO that's all folks!! 
If you made it through the entire thing,
major Kudos!
This was way longer than anticipated but I hope it gives 
enough information to help choose what to see and how to do it all!!
Next in the series will be MY top rides at Disneyland/DCA ;)
(and yeah, it'll probably HAVE to be split by park and land again!
you know you love it!)

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Welcome to our adventure!