Disneyland Traveler Blog Sites

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Disneyland Bucket List - Item #7

You learn something new about Disneyland every day. Well, maybe not every day, but there seems to be no shortage of new things to stumble upon going on at the park. I've written before about how I am a fan of the little petting zoo at Big Thunder Ranch. It's charming and great for kids. The goats and other animal residents make me smile and smiling is what Disneyland is all about.

So I knew that the goats reside at the petting zoo during the day. I knew their permanent home was back in the friendly confines of Circle D ranch which is behind Frontierland. What I did not know until a little while ago is that every day about 4 pm there is a very minor event affectionately known as "The Running of Goats" - Disneyland's takeoff on the Running of the Bulls annual event in Pamplona Spain (complete with human carnage).

At 4 pm, the Petting Zoo handlers herd the goats up to the gate then open the gate and let the little rascals make a made dash off to the Circle D Ranch. There are a couple of short YouTube videos below to show the goats sprinting back to their home. And as of today, it's something I really want to see perhaps just once. The Running of the Goats is officially on my Disneyland Bucket List. I do not believe there have any humans trampled during this event.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Disneyland and 100,000 People

Al Lutz made a quick post the other day that on Monday of this week, the Monday of Thanksgiving week, there were 100,000 people at the Disneyland Resort. That's pretty much the max for the place and with that number of people, the infrastructure of the resort is pretty well pushed as far as it will go. Those kind of numbers are reserved for the busiest of days. But these numbers also tell a story.

We were in Disneyland (actually DCA) a few years ago in June right before the summer blackout for local passholders and heard one cast member tell another that there 100,000 people in the park that day but he used the numbers that 70,000 were in Disneyland and 30,000 in DCA. With Al's post he said on this past Monday the crowds were evenly split between the 2 parks - 50,000 in Disneyland and 50,000 in DCA further demonstrating the draw of Cars Land and the DCA reboot. This was the common trend all summer. Disney park execs have to be ecstatic about this.

It used to be Disneyland was virtual gridlock on busy days and DCA was more of a place to handle the overflow. It's not like that anymore as plenty of people now enter DCA first thing in the morning and don't leave until the park closes down easing the Disneyland claustrophobia.

Of course, the flip side of this is the Disneyland Resort is still drawing huge crowds and recent price increases have dented the throng from showing up. It plays right into the hand that says Disney can still handle further price increases before they take a large attendance hit by pricing people out of the parks. It will be an interesting trend to follow.

In the meantime, with 100,000 people, 65,000 of them are going to be hit sometime in the course of the day with a stroller.

Happy Thanksgiving From The Disneyland Traveler

After years of either shopping, preparing, or clean-up from Thanksgiving Dinner, the Disneyland Traveler household has decided to move in a different direction. The reservation at the local Black Angus restaurant is for 3 pm. Now for all those out the working to get the turkey in the oven and dinner on the table to celebrate this day of thanks with family and friends, we wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Disneyland Resort A to Z - Grizzly River Run

I guess this area of Disney California Adventure Park is still called Grizzly Peak. With almost every other area of DCA getting constructed, refurbished, and otherwise tweaked, this area of the park has been quietly left alone. The area it occupies is quite large but plays home to only one major attraction and a minor one - The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.

The major attraction is Grizzly River Run, a sudo white water rapids ride that is 100% guaranteed to get you wet. And we're not talking Splash Mountain kind of wet here, this is usually a full on head to toe drenching. So depending on your ability to enjoy getting buckets of cold water dumped on you from just about any possible angle is all you need to know as to whether GRR is a great ride or one that you can pass on.

Now when its 90 degrees in the summer, a good soaking can feel rather welcoming. On the other hand if you get on the ride at 5:00 pm on a November evening because someone in your party says "look, no line" as I did a few years back, then beware. You will get wet, then cold, then miserable, pretty much in that order. When someone says "look, no line" for what usually is a very popular ride the correct question to ask yourself is "Why isn't there a line?". Wise people don't go looking to get wet when the sun is rapidly setting and the temperature dropping like a stone. Luckily the Boy was with us on the night in question so I probably told him I would buy him a churro or something if he would go back to the hotel and get me a change of clothes.

Of course, Disney is always at the ready to help you out - for a price. There is a gift shop right next to the ride filled with sweatshirts and hoods to warm you up should that bone chilling cold go right through you. And they are also more than willing to sell you a cheap plastic drop cloth that they call a poncho to put on before you get on the ride. That little gift shop must make a bundle.

White Water Souvenirs off the right of the ride entrance

Disney also doesn't want to be responsible for expensive cameras and cell phones getting a ruined so they also provide lockers near the ride that are free to use for the duration of your excursion. 

But what about the ride itself? Well, I believe at one time it was the longest water ride every constructed and it still may be. Though there is a rather nice launching area from a thematic stand point and several vistas to shoot pictures of the raft vehicles, assorted waterfalls, and impressive rock work the ride itself is what it is, a water ride. There are a couple of small drops during the ride and one big drop toward the end that provide the thrills. What usually gets people are the pop-up geysers that launch huge plums of water near the very end of the ride. This is what usually causes the most water damage to the passengers.

I enjoy Grizzly River Run a great deal. It is fun and just one of those rides that will just have you talking about your experience the rest of the day (and maybe years later). The caveat is - you have to pick your spots for GRR. Get an afternoon fastpass on a warm day that will allow ample drying opportunity before nightfall and all will be good. When the days are short and the weather is cool or cloudy, just walk on by unless you are one of those who choose to ignore wisdom.

Watch our for these!!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hostess and Me

A small break from the Disney stuff to lament the passing of Hostess Bakeries, makers of Twinkies, Cup Cakes, Fruit Pies, Ding-Dongs, and many other bakery treats. Oh, yes, they made Wonder Bread too.

The company fell on its own sword this week, giving itself up in bankruptcy after being crippled by a strike where its workers said they just can't afford to give up any more. There's probably no winners here but you have to wonder why a company and its leadership would just give up and shut its doors. Something tells me there is some sort of financial shenanigans going on here - a common practice in today's business world.

I grew up on Hostess products. I grew up in San Francisco, a city littered with corner stores supplying grocery needs to neighborhoods. Some of my earliest childhood memories have me going to the corner store for my mom to pick up the essentials - 2 quarts of milk (a half gallon was just too large of a container for little kids hands), a loaf of bread (Wonder of course), and maybe a couple of rolls of toilet paper. If it was in our budget, sometimes she said I could also get cup cakes or a fruit pie for my lunch the next day or perhaps just as a sack. Those words were golden to me - Hostess cup cakes or a berry pie (sorry, never cared much for Twinkies).

Back then, cup cakes or Twinkies cost 12 or 13 cents. A fruit pie was more, all the way up to 15 cents. And trust me, they tasted much better than what Hostess was putting on supermarket shelves up till a few days ago. Through the years and decades, my Hostess treat of choice was always a berry pie. I think they stopped making berry pies some time back. Haven't seen one for a long time. Probably got to be too expensive or the artificial flavoring that they pack into all the products now just couldn't cut it.

And its funny, I would meet various people through the years who thought the same thing I did when I entered a supermarket, corner store, or even a gas station - "I feel like having a Hostess berry pie today"

But that's all gone now. Or is it? Something tells me you haven't seen the last of Hostess. They name itself is worth a ton of money. A Hostess company will probably resurface sometime in the future making inferior products with cheaper labor. That's kind of how it works.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Is Radiator Springs Racers All That It's Cracked Up To Be?

I'm probably going to be the last one in my family of Disneyland crazed nuts to ride on Radiator Springs Racers. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. On second thought, it's a bad thing since it means I haven't been to Disneyland in awhile. The only good thing is hopefully missing out on the two and three hour wait times which is common on all but the slowest of days.

But for those in my family who have got to ride the Racers I'm getting some rather interesting feedback. My question to them is simple. "As reported by many people, is Radiator Springs Racers the best ride in either park?" I have yet to get an unqualified "Yes!".

Here is what I do get back.  "It certainly is a great ride and lot's of fun." "It's high tech and way cool."

But is it the best ride in either park?

"Well, I wouldn't go that far, I think I have other favorites."

And my favorite response....

"It's a great ride but it just doesn't feel like a Disney ride."

(And Indiana Jones Adventure feels like a Disney ride?)

Oh well, some day soon, I'll just have to check it out for myself

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Starbucks Creeps Into Disney World in 2013

Starbucks at Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe
Disney California Adventure
Starbucks inside of the Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe (again: dumb name) is a hit in Disney California Adventure. Long lines (though pretty fast moving) have kept the caffeine buzz flowing when exhaustion gets the better of your Disney day. The plan was to have a Starbucks in all U.S. Disney theme parks but DCA has been the sole outlet since last June. Until now.

At long last, Starbucks is now scheduled to move into Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Epcot parks next year. The Main Street Bakery in MK is scheduled to close for refurbishment in January then reopen in early summer with a Starbucks station. Over at Epcot, Fountain View will close in March and reopen with its Starbucks in mid-summer.

The Starbucks in Disney Parks idea is a good one. Goodness knows that the parks have struggled to come up with a palatable cup of coffee often times and Starbucks gives a quality product. Makes you want to forget about the regrettable teaming up of Disney Parks and McDonalds. That was an - ugh!.....

The Golden Horseshoe Experiment

Though I haven't confirmed it from any official Disney source, there is a rumor that the Golden Horseshoe Saloon in Frontierland will revert back to a version of it's original stage show that ran for many years following the park's opening. The revival show will be part of Disneyland's  2013 Limited Time Magic promotion and will only run from January 10 - February 4. It's a grand show complete with dance hall girls and cowboy comedians and as a young boy, I remember seeing the good time fun entertainment with my parents... way back when.

But as a young boy, I was all about rides back then so the Golden Horseshoe stage show never really triggered any real sense of romance or nostalgia in me (unlike the Tiki Room or Lincoln). Many Disneyland veterans wax poetically about the thousands of performances of comedian Wally Boag as Pecos Bill and Betty Taylor's Slue Foot Sue. As often mentioned, Wally Boag performing at the Golden Horseshoe was one of comedian Steve Martin's primary influences (Steve worked at Disneyland for a period of time).

So while this revamped show is eagerly anticipated for many Disneyland fans, I could easily give it a pass. At this stage of my life, for me, the Golden Horseshoe belongs to Billy Hill and the Hillbillies and the show they brought to the Golden Horseshoe. Since last summer, Billy has been relegated to performing outdoors at the Festival Arena and while I have not seen outdoor Billy, there is a part of me that wants them back inside the Golden Horseshoe, where they belong, where I have seen them countless times over the last 10 or 12 years.

Someone on MiceChat is already soliciting people to go down to Disneyland's City Hall and fill out an official suggestion request to make the vintage Golden Horseshoe show a permanent fixture once its temporary run begins. That's kind of like voting that Iron Man is the greatest attraction in Disneyland before the ride is even built. Besides, in my many Billy Hill viewings, I have yet to see and empty seat in the house. Billy Hill and the Hillbillies appearing 5 times daily at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon in Disneyland - that's the way it should be.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why A Larger Star Wars Presence Is Better Suited For WDW

While Disney blogs and forums went absolutely ga-ga (mostly) over Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise, the theme park enthusiasts on both coasts salivated over the opportunities enhancing the Star Wars presence in their respective parks. Sorry Disneyland friends, while I am a west coast guy through and through, even I have to admit that a larger Star Wars presence is better suited towards Walt Disney World In Florida rather than the Disneyland Resort.

Reason #1 is that WDW already has a larger Star Wars presence and that takes place in the spring of each year over several weekends with an event known Star Wars Weekends. The event has a huge following and has the attendance numbers to show for it. And this isn't a bunch of annual passholders like Disneyland has who treat the park as a local playground and often going on the cheap. The Star Wars Weekend attendees come from great distances, stay in Disney hotels, and spend a great deal of money on what is essentially a hobby. 

Reason #2 is that Disney World just has more space to work with and when you are talking about another universe, lots of space comes in handy. It has been known that something more needs to be done with Disney Hollywood Studios which really comes down to about 4 or 5 featured attractions. Star Tours is one of them and sister rides from the Star Wars universe could be just the ticket to take DHS to the next level like Disney did with Disney California Adventure and Cars Land. Of course, Star Wars is such a huge and popular franchise that a WDW 5th theme park could be a possibility making those 5 day WDW vacations now 7 days.

Reason #3 is Disney got Harry Pottered in Florida. Something big has to be done to throw a monkey wrench into Potter's popularity at Universal Studios. Avatar Land you say? That is the great unknown. On the other hand, Star Wars is known. Darth Vader would whoop Harry Potter with one arm tied behind his back. Disney can't bring in The Avengers into WDW to battle Potter due to licensing agreements in place. But they can certainly bring in Lord Vader's Empire.

I'm no accountant but it certainly seems like there would be a bigger return on Disney's Lucasfilm investment if it was allowed to expand through Walt Disney World but here's the rub as pointed out by MiceAge's Kevin Yee. There is far more money to be made making Star Wars movies then putting Star Wars attractions in theme parks. And there is more money to made bigger than both of them through the sale of Star Wars toys and merchandise. Theme parks come up third on the pecking order behind consumer products and movie box office success.

So where does that leave us out here on the west coast? There is no room to do Star Wars justice in the existing California Disney Parks unless they were willing to remove something as big as Tomorrowland or Paradise Pier completely and start from scratch. Not likely since Iron Man is already promised to Tomorrowland and Disney is perfectly happy with the Paradise Pier section of DCA as it is now. Star Wars only hope in Anaheim is the fulfillment of the long talked about 3rd Gate (theme park) which could comfortably provide room for both Marvel and Star Wars characters and attractions. Sounds expensive. Remember, theme parks aren't even close to Disney's biggest money making enterprises (ESPN is where the big money is made).

Rumors and speculation are just that. By next year at this time, a lot of questions will have been answered.

Muppets Shut Out Of Their Own Theater At Christmas

Now this irks me - which admittedly, isn't hard to do. For the last 6 weeks or so Disney has used the Muppet Theater in Disney California Adventure's Hollywood Land to promote Tim Burton's Frankenweenie movie, a movie few paying customers actually went to see. So here we are, heading towards the Christmas holidays, a time when Muppets shine with holiday spirit, and instead of putting the beloved puppets back in their own theater, Disney is going to use building to promote the Disney Channel's Prep and Landing TV show, which has something to do with Christmas, but I'm not actually sure what because I HAVE NEVER SEEN PREP AND LANDING, nor care to.

Now granted, the Muppets 3D movie shown in DCA, now over 10 years old, doesn't exactly pack in the audience anymore but whose fault is that? The movie is grainy and dated and just looks dull and worn in the age of sparkling digital prints. Guess what? Disney makes movies. They could have easily come with other Muppet adventures to rotate into what is a very nice theater. Instead we get Prep and Landing, cheaply made digital graphic animation over Muppets, endearing characters with hearts and souls and the touch of the human hand of real puppeteers.

Why did Disney even bother purchasing Jim Henson's Muppets? They have done so little with them. Disney made a new Muppet movie last year that was a moderate success. While the movie played in theaters, the Muppets were brought out of their closet and given an actual presence in the theme parks. When the movie passed on into home video land, Disney put the Muppets back into the closet where they are left, neglected. Far too busy with The Avengers and buying Star Wars characters to be concerned about something as trivial as Muppets. Guess what Disney? A lot of people still love the Muppets now decades after their glory days, and neglectfully ignoring their importance only serves to irk those who can still be counted on as loyal fans.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tis The Season Of Bad Decisions At Disneyland

They are starting to mount up - the number of poor decisions by Disneyland Park Management for this upcoming holiday season:

Bad Decision #1
Doing away with the traditional cast member holiday Christmas parties. Nothing brings good holiday cheer around the resort than cast members who have been callously jilted out one of the highlights of their hard working years.

Bad Decision #2
Announcing a 20 night Candlelight Processional complete with dining packages to the public then turning around and having to admit that park management really didn't have a clue on how to properly implement a well designed plan around the CP events. It now comes down to invited VIPs and an annual passholder lottery system for seating. Everyone else, you are on your own.

Bad Decision #3
No Reindeer Round-Up. Another Disneyland Christmas tradition tossed aside for unknown reasons. Maybe the transporting of the the magistic animals from their regular home in the Pacific Northwest along with the care and feeding of some rather large animals had just gotten to be a little too steep of price tag for a rather small park tradition. Maybe. You kids out there...go see Santa and pet a goat...

Bad Decision #4
Billy Hill and Hillbillies taking their Holiday Spectacular to the outdoors (in freakin' December). You know December in Disneyland can be a bit nippy when you remain in one spot for a period of time, sometimes downright cold. And yes, it has also been known to rain like a son of a gun in Disneyland in December. On a cold, wet, day there was just something special about seeing Billy Hill and the Hillbillies do their holiday show in the warm confines of the Golden Horseshoe. Not this year as the Billies continue to play outside in the Festival Arena area. Burrrrrrr....

Bad Decision #5
Tacky ToonTown holiday decorations. I don't have much use for ToonTown myself but it was fun to walk around the place at Christmas time because of the whimsical holiday decorations. Well some wise park manager thought the decorations were in need of some change last year and instead of upgrading the ToonTown decorations, brought in some of the cheapest look holiday decorations this side of the sale aisle at K-Mart. Everyone who cared complained. Guess what? In their infinite wisdom, they brought back the same horrid cheesy decorations. Ugh!

It's November 6. Disney still has plenty of time to add to this list.....

Disneyland Resort A to Z - The Fantastic Fantasmic

Readers of this blog know that I am a huge fan of the Disneyland nighttime spectacular Fantasmic. Simply put, it is the resort's best live action performance attraction. One of the more wide ready posts in this blog is my Fantasmic vs. World of Color entry. Yes, Fantasmic is better than World of Color in my humble opinion (though I think WOC can be made better than it currently is). Many Disneyland fans complain about how the park was managed (or rather mismanaged) during the Michael Eisner era. But under Eisner's watch, imagineers did give us Fantasmic.

Part show and part spectacle, Fantasmic gives the viewer an all out Disney assault on the senses. Using live characters, projections, animatronics, ships, fireworks, water fountains, lasers, music, and one big fire breathing dragon, Fantasmic gives us a Disney history lesson that builds to a thrilling, goosebump inducing, climactic end. You can't walk away from seeing it without the feeling you have watched something very special. The show is about 22 minutes long. If you have seen the show, you know what I am talking about. If you are planning a trip to Disneyland and have not seen Fantasmic, put it on your must do list of attractions. It's a shining example of what Disneyland and the magic of Disney is all about.

And now for the bad news - simply - crowds. Wall to wall people swell to see Fantasmic, thousands of them, and for many, this is a turn off. I know people who visit Disneyland regularly and avoid Fantasmic for all they are worth simply because of the numbers of people who gather to see it in the relatively small show viewing area around the Rivers of America. There are all kinds of strategies for Fantasmic viewing but the simple fact remains that it is a hugely popular show and it packs them in. People show up hours early in various areas just to hopefully get optimal viewing.

I have seen Fatasmic maybe a dozen times or more. I have waited hours to see it - squatting a table at the Riverbelle Terrace, sitting on the ground closer to the river's edge. I think I am to the point where I now just show up 20 or 30 minutes before showtime, crowd in, and hope for the best. The second showing also tends to be a bit less crowded than the first. 

Be patient, with all those people, there is a bit of crowding, leaning, pushing, along with some general rude behavior and sometimes people do not take to kindly to this. A lot gets forgotten once the show begins

In the end, Fantasmic is remarkable on many levels but what separates it from its World of Color counterpart is Fantasmic actually takes the time to tell a story and is not a collection of Disney's Greatest Hits as WOC tends to be. The show is so vast and expansive that it really has a life its own in Disneyland. It doesn't fit in any one land. Fantasmic is a classic show for the Disney ages. 

...And Now A Public Service Announcement From Disney - Vote

Election Day, come tomorrow we won't have to listen another commercial on why the other candidate is a liar and not a real American. But before Election Day comes to a close, a vintage public service video from the Walt Disney Archives (from Disney Posts Blog) gives us Donald Duck and one final reminder.

Funny thing is if I showed up to my polling place without pants, I might be asked leave before ever casting my vote for my preferred candidate.

Where George Lucas Went Wrong (And Disney Can Make Right)

The original Star Wars movie (Episode 4: A New Hope) is considered a cinematic masterpiece almost universally. The story was the perfect combination of heroes vs. villains, good vs. evil, hope vs. darkness. The technical achievements were a marvel to behold in the days before all the current digital trickery. And while Star Wars is considered a classic, and rightfully so, the second movie of the original trilogy - The Empire Strikes Back - may have been even a better movie (even if it didn't actually have an ending).

With two great movies in his hip pocket, George Lucas had the Star Wars universe open to him, and beginning with Return of the Jedi, he began to take Star Wars in the wrong direction, a direction in which he could never quite recover from the misstep. His miscalculation was simple - instead of focusing on the human element of the first two Star Wars movies, actual people supported by robotics and creatures that had traits and personalities that you could actually care about, George began filling his movies with creatures that really held little interest for the movie audience. It started with the Ewoks. If only Return of the Jedi had more Luke and Darth with their incredible story to tell and fewer fury little munchkins running around, the movie would have been so much better.

There was forshadowing to Lucas's infatuation with absurd characters in both Star Wars and The Emprie Strikes Back. I never cared for the bar scene in the original Star Wars as creature after creature appeared with each just seeming like an exercise of imagination rather than a true character that added value to the movie. The Empire Strikes Back, gave us the first of Lucas's characters that fed off the grotesque and obnoxious rather than a fully developed character - Jaba the Hut. The character of the absurd manifested itself to completeness to the ridiuclous Jar Jar Binks who took up far too much time and space in the second trilogy.

As for the first trilogy, here is my story. Return of the Jedi, while fascniating with the revealing of the relationship of Luke and Darth Vader, left a bad taste in my mouth with endless shots of Ewoks that I couldn't give a rip about. Jedi left such a poor impression that I had no desire to see any of the Star Wars prequels, especially after those movies began to get ripped by true fans of the series.

Last Christmas, the Boy gave me the Star Wars prequel set on Blu-Ray. It took several weeks, but I finally watched the first movie. It was OK, but certainly not Star Wars worthy. The stage was set for the future movies but I found the kid horribly obnoxious and that Jar Jar Binks character just plain annoying. Again, fine performances by Liam Neesom and Natalie Portman were left unsupported in George Lucas's never ending quest to fill the screen with characters and creatures people really have no rooting interest in. It's almost Christmas again and I have yet to see the 2nd or 3rd movies of the trilogy.

But Star Wars is such a great franchise that it can be easily fixed if the Disney produced Star Wars 7 in 2015 is put back into the hands of someone who really understands and cares about what made the original concept great and keeps the meddlesome mind of George Lucas as far away as possible. What made Star Wars great - start with humans that you can care about like Luke, Hans, and Leia. Add some robotics who pretty much act like humans like C3PO and R2D2. Add if you do have to add alien characters, make them count like Chewbacca and Yoda. And start to turn Darth Vader back into his old self, the movie bad guy to end all all movie bad guys, and not some comedic shill for a franchise gone wrong.

Disney is perfectly capable of bringing the Star Wars franchise back to its glory. They did it with Marvel's The Avengers. It all starts with a director and we should hear who that is going to be within the next few months.

Don't get me started on what George Lucas did to Indiana Jones. I'll save that for another day. Really? Aliens? Surviving a nuclear explosion by hiding in a refrigerator? 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Revamping The French Market Menu

French Market's Red Beans & Rice with Sausage
A Disney Parks Blog Photo
Disney Parks Blogs (link) posted last week that the menu of the lovely French Market cafeteria style dining facility in New Orleans Square has been updated to give a little bit more of the Big Easy vibe and authenticity. It needed it. Over the years, Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and my own experiences with the French Market have been kind of hit and miss,

The hits have come when we stuck with the basics and had them serve up the roast beef or citrus marinated chicken. The misses came when we went the more adventurous route and had the pasta and vegetable gratin or the chicken & seafood jambalaya. These turned out to be disappointing. The gratin dish was so loaded with the dreaded mushroom that Mrs. DLT would have exchanged it with me if I had been eating a bowl of cream of wheat (instead she got my chicken).

French Market's Shrimp Po' Boy
A Disney Parks Blog Photo

So anyway, though I haven't seen the complete new menu lineup yet, the new selections do away with a few of the older selections and add some new ones like red beans and rice with andouille sausage, a shrimp po' boy sandwich served during lunch, and panko crusted red snapper served during dinner hours. I would be on board with any of these selections though I'm not so sure with Mrs. DLT who lacks the taste for regional or exotic cuisines.

French Market's Panko Crusted Snapper
A Disney Parks Blog Photo

I would be interested in Disney's approach to the Cajun / Creole classic red beans & rice. The dish is steeped in history and lore dating back to the times of slavery. Red beans & rice is a cheap dish to make. I don't know what Disney's take on it will be but slap a $12 or $13 price tag on something that is essentially beans and rice and let's see the public reaction. 

But if nothing else, the French Market is a fine setting to enjoy a meal. Either listening to the live jazz or gazing out on the activity of the Rivers of America, its one Disneyland's better spots to eat. Hopefully the new menu punctuates the setting rather than detract from it.

The Earl of Sandwich Opens in Downtown Disney Anaheim

The Disneyland Traveler is a sandwich kind of guy. I like sandwiches a lot. It may stem back to childhood days when my mom would send me off to school with a sandwich in my lunch bag (the brown paper lunch sack, I was never the metal cartoon lunch box type). It was usually the routine stuff - peanut butter and jelly, bologna, tuna, but every once in awhile I would get surprised and get a sandwich made from the previous day's dinner leftovers like pot roast, or pork roast.

Last Friday, the Earl of Sandwich opened in Downtown Disney in the old Compass Books spot across from the ESPN Zone. With a dumb name like Earl of Sandwich, you know this has to be a chain and it is but not really established out here in the west. I guess there is an Earl in Las Vegas. But there is an Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney in Walt Disney World and people swear by the place both with the price (all sandwiches are $6.99) and the quality.

So the Earl of Sandwich is now on the list of must places to go on our next visit to the Disneyland Resort. Goodness knows the Disney parks struggle with making a good sandwich with your best bet probably being the Pacific Wharf Cafe in DCA so the Earl is a welcomed addition. Hopefully it will become a regular stop on all of our visits. 

So far the reports are quite good with the sandwiches. There have have been some comments that the side small side accompaniments aren't worth the money but the sandwiches themselves have been getting very good reviews. The biggest complaint to this point, as one would suspect - long lines.

What would be my worst fear about the Earl of Sandwich? That it ends being something similar to my least favorite sandwich place - Subway. Hopefully not.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mickey Says - Set Your Clocks Back 1 Hr. Tonight.

We can all use an extra hour of sleep. How about tonight? Daylight Savings Time ends in most (but not all) of the good ol' USA. Set your clocks back 1 hour before you go to bed and all will be fine. For you smartphone and computer users, don't worry about the time. They are smarter than you are.

Star Wars Meets the Mouse

Still a lot to digest with the Walt Disney Company buying Lucafilm and its Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. That only fueled internet creative artists and Photoshop mavens to get to work and bringing some much needed humor to the landmark purchase.

Disneyland Resort A to Z - Enchanted Tiki Room

My best thoughts about Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room have already been written in this blog. It's one of my favorite pieces of writing since I started this thing. You can read it from the link below....

The Tiki Room Is Not An Excuse To Eat Ice Cream

For me, the Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland is what Disneyland is all about. It's what Walt Disney was all about - a thousand details working in harmony to provide entertainment and magic to all who see and hear. The Enchanted Tiki Room is the sound of innocence in an age of complexities. It's decades worth of joy and fond memories.

Should Disney ever make the ill-fated decision of removing the Tiki Room as some people who have grown tired of the attraction have suggested, then that will be the day Disneyland really dies. WDW made the ill-fated decision of updating their Tiki Room for a new generation with the - Under New Management idea. It's pretty much universally hated for what they did to the original attraction, a poster child for imagineer's over thinking and "don't let this happen again"


The Enchanted Tiki Room is not an attraction with the "wow" factor. It's an attraction for the heart and soul. Not every attraction has to tie into a movie or whatever else Disney may be promoting at the time. Sometimes it's just nice to hear the birds sing.