Disneyland Traveler Blog Sites

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Disneyland Traveler Returns To The Carnation Cafe

There is no doubt the Carnation Cafe on Disneyland's Main Street is one our favorite places to eat in the park. There is just something quintessential Disneyland about dining from the simple menu in the open air under the brightly colored red and white umbrellas. Of course being in the outdoors, the dining experience got a little iffy when the weather got insufferably hot or briskly cold but fortunately, the warm Southern California temperatures have cooperated for the most part.

So leave it to Disney to come along and in their infinite wisdom try and fix a good thing. With the remodel of  the Carnation Cafe that took place last year, along with the outdoor seating, there is now a small indoor dining area that was formally occupied by the Blue Ribbon Bakery. The indoor dining was welcomed a few weeks ago when we hit the Carnation Cafe for dinner on a night when the temperature was rapidly cooling off. While the indoor space is not very large it is pleasant with rich woodwork and nice detail and did not feel cramped at all as with some of the other Disneyland dining locations.

But as it seems with many Disneyland changes, there is a BUT.... This time, with the slightly upscaled dining facility, the decision was to make some unpopular, unneeded, an unwanted changes to what had been a simple menu that had something for everyone and worked that way for years. Gone were the chicken pot pie, the shepherds pie, and very nice chicken breast sandwich on a croissant and what was formerly a popular half sandwich and soup option. Of course, the legendary baked potato soup was still on the menu but when I ordered it a few weeks ago, it was still good, but didn't have that over the top goodness that I was expected after ordering it so many times through the year.

Carnation Cafe's Baked Potato Soup
My sister is a pickle fanatic. The Carnation Cafe now offers a quirky deep fried dill pickle appetizer that my sister just had to try and so I sampled one as well even though, as for pickles, I can take or leave them. The deep fried dill pickled tasted just like it reads - a screaming hot dill pickle, coated, and deep fried served up with some kind of ranch dipping sauce. It wasn't bad but without my pickle crazed sister, it's something I would never order myself.

Deep Fried Dill Pickle Anyone?

I ordered the Green Chili Cheeseburger which I have been eager to try ever since I first read about it when the new menu came out. I'm a green chili (poblano) fan and putting one on top of an angus burger with manchego cheese and a fried egg seemed delectably different. The burger and toppings were served up on a fresh baked brioche bun and that's where this menu item went down hill for me. The bun was huge - just way too much bread and as for "fresh baked" - it really didn't taste all that fresh. I ended up discarding the top bun and eating the burger with a knife and fork using just the bottom portion of the bun. The meat seemed flavorless, as did the cheese and chili for that matter. The only part about the assemblage that I really enjoyed may have been the fried egg which was perfectly cooked (and it was the first time I had a fried egg on a burger which is an upscale trend that is gaining in popularity). The accompanying french fries were pretty run of the mill as well. So there I was in the Carnation Cafe with a soup that didn't let me down a little and a burger that disappointed me a lot.

The Green Chili Cheeseburger. In the end - a disappointment

Mrs. DisneylandTraveler went with the Fried Chicken Breast (a Walt's favorite the menu claims). It was served with mash potatoes, country gravy, and succotash. She let me sample a bit of her meal and I would have been happier ordering that but even the fried chicken and accompanying gravy had an issue as it seemed to be a little bit heavy handed with the pepper. The chicken had some quite noticeable and surprising zip to it. What was wrong with the chicken sandwich or chicken pot pie anyway? Many Carnation Cafe fans have asked that question.

The Fried Chicken Breast - Good but a bit peppery.

Which brings me to maybe my biggest disappointment of the meal. I flat out ordered the wrong thing. As we were walking in, we noticed a pasta dish with some succulent shrimp sitting out for display. The waitress explained that this menu item was popular over the Valentine's Day Limited Time Magic event and they offer it as a non-menu item. My sister and her husband opted for the shrimp pasta dish and couldn't have been more pleased. She offered me one of her shrimp and would have to agree. Best thing I ate the whole meal. It needs to be on the menu (or just bring the old menu back and everyone would be happy).

Finally - Excellent!
So even though I was a bit disappointed with Carnation Cafe on my last trip, I haven't given up hope. The chicken pot pie was always my go-to meal and now that its gone, I need to just find another one. This time it won't be a burger. Note: only covering the Carnation Cafe as a lunch/dinner table service eatery. We have not eaten breakfast there.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Is Spending 24 Hrs In Disneyland Too Much Of A Good Thing?

Coming Soon - Disney Parks Monstrous Summer
And Disney Pixar's Monsters University

On our recently completed trip to Disneyland during an off-season period, the parks were basically opened from 10 - 9 on Monday through Thursday during our stay. They opened an hour earlier and closed at 11 on the Sunday and Friday. Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I would show up when the parks opened and left when they were ready to shut the place down. By the time we left at the end of our Disney day, we were tired (bordering on exhausted) and ready for the welcoming bed at our hotel.

Disney Park's summer promotion for this year was kicked off this past week and is centered around the June release of Pixar's Monsters University, the sequel to the massively popular Monsters Inc. The Disney Parks summer promotion is dubbed Monstrous Summer and officially kicks off May 24th with Disneyland and DCA opened for 24 hours. What? 24 hours?

You see Mrs. DLT and I are what is described as "no spring chickens anymore". The concept of spending 24 hours in Disneyland, while an experience for sure, is something that would be unfathomable to us who welcome a good night's sleep in a comfortable bed at our age.

Disneyland tried this open 24 hour thing before, last year on February 29 - leap day - and was dubbed One More Disney Day. With only Disneyland opened, the masses of Annual Passholder showed up with more than 100,000 people trying to force their way through the turnstiles. Of course, Disney did not have the staffing to handle this quantity of people and the event was met with what many described as nothing short of chaos.

Thinking they have learned their lesson and opening both Disney and Disney California Adventure with proper staffing, Disney looks as May 24th as being as something of a gold mine. I hope they're right because last year's event was met with the problems of assorted confrontations and short tempers as a result of not being able to handle the masses.

I remember reading on forum where people used the bare hardwood floor of the Main Street Cinema as a place for people to stretch out and catch some sleep. So that's what I don't get. Why would anyone want to sleep on the floor of a Disneyland attraction when they have have a perfectly decent bed at home?

Like I said. I'm no spring chicken anymore.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

So What Was With All The Disneyland Ride Closures Last Week?

So while we were on our way driving down to Disneyland 2 Saturdays ago, my Twitter feed from @MiceChat began to go crazy with sudden ride closures - Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, the Matterhorn, California Screamin', Soarin' Over California, all closed by Disney after being cited by OSHA the previous Friday to the tune of a $230,000 fine after a contracted maintenance worker was injured in a fall from the Space Mountain roof last November. Those were some mighty big rides and mighty big closures. The rumors were flying. Were we getting a bit jittery about our trip and some poor timing? Not a bit, we were on our way to Disneyland and while those rides are great, we go there more for the experience, not necessarily the rides. We've been on those attractions dozens of times to the point where I can pretty much take them or leave them. None are deal breakers. (On the other hand, my heart would sink if Pirates of the Caribbean were unexpectedly closed during a trip)
But by Sunday morning when we first made our entrance into the park things had calmed down and most of the rides were back up and running. The exception was Space Mountain where the original OSHA infraction occurred and currently remains closed though reopening is, I guess, expected soon. And Soarin" Over California which was closed on 5 of the 6 days we were in the parks, opening the last day before we left.
If you go to Disneyland just for thrill rides - you are missing out. Those are complimentary pieces to the total Disneyland entertainment package - big pieces for sure, but Disneyland is capable of giving so much more. But that's just me after spending so many days in Disneyland. I can find multiple ways of keeping myself content and entertained and getting on a 'mountain" attraction is no longer a necessity.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Things I Thought I Would Never See In Disneyland

Before we get to our friend and hero Iron Man now prominently displayed in Tomorrowland, my first real Disneyland surprise occurred when I first walked through the turnstiles last Sunday morning. The nice young man who scanned my annual pass wore a neatly cropped beard. That's right, he had a beard as did several other cast members I encountered throughout my week's stay. Beards were forbidden by Walt Disney from the get-go. I had heard there was a change in grooming policy but this was the first chance I had to see young men with beards and goatees working in the park. To me, it was quite noticeable but I also have no problem with it. It's just a different look from your male cast members.

Ever since Disney bought Marvel a few years ago, some of the larger gift shops have carried a few Marvel toys and consumer products, but barely enough to be noticeable as the first presence of Marvel in Disneyland. The display of Iron Man Suits currently in Innoventions is something of a game changer. While the display of suits is not large, and if you spend more than 10 or 15 minutes looking at the display, you probably need to work on your life.  The Iron Man display is Disney's first chance to gauge the acceptance of a Marvel presence in Walt's park. While I have no issue with anything related to Marvel from displays right up to a Marvel based E-Ticket attraction, in Disneyland I do understand the position of those who think Marvel superheros in Disneyland is a bit of a stretch from the original park concept.

To me, the Iron Man display is kind of irrelevant. What is important is that for the first time in years, there was a reason for Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and me to walk into the Innoventions building other than to get out of the rain. The building is huge and cavernous and used to show off things that people have little interest in seeing inside of a major (and expensive) theme park. The Innoventions building now represents a giant waste of a space in a park that is space challenged. (Not to mention the place is badly in need of a coat or two of paint). But with the display of Iron Man suits, even as minor as it is, people line up once again to get into Innoventions, something that hasn't been done for years. An Iron Man attraction? An Avengers attraction? A TRON attraction? Bring any of them on - just put the space to a use that will absorb some of the crowds rather than sit there rotting away. (Granted: Since Innoventions is primarily corporate sponsored by Yamaha, HP, MicroSoft, Honda, etc., the place makes Disney money even if no one goes in).

As for Marvel in Disneyland, in a few years someone is going to have to do battle with that Harry Potter kid up the road at Universal Studios Hollywood. Why not Iron Man?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

In Disney California Adventure...Starbucks Works

You see them in almost every city, every town, every neighborhood. In one of the great American success stories, Starbucks Coffee shops can be found practically anywhere at the drop of a hat...even in Disney California Adventure Park. I had misgivings when Disney and Starbucks formed their alliance which would bring a Starbucks Coffee establishment to every U.S. Disney theme park. People go to a Disney Park for a unique experience. Starbucks is hardly unique, but they do make a fine product with their beverages and selected food item.

So Starbucks has settled into the Fiddler, Fifer, & Practical Cafe found on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure Park. And I for one can now say I'm glad they did. First of all, the building - the interior or exterior - does not scream Starbucks. What lives inside the FF&P Cafe is more subtle, cavernous inside but nicely themed to the period. Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I began two of the mornings on our trip with a visit to the DCA Starbucks. Yes it can get crowded and the line can move a bit slowly, but the reward is typical Starbucks quality both with their coffee beverages and Starbucks breakfast sandwiches which are also quite tasty (and reasonably priced by Disney standards). And even though the place can line customers up to the doorway, there always seems to be empty tables. Nice.

Starbucks works in DCA and now we turn our attention to Main Street Disneyland where Starbucks is now under construction in the historic Market House. From what Disney did with Starbucks in DCA, I am a little more comforted in knowing that they will probably do the same tasteful job with Disneyland. The only problem with building a Starbucks in Disneyland, is the fact that I also have become quite fond of the Jolly Holiday Bakery which is practically across the street. Along with the Carnation Cafe, no one should ever have to venture off Main Street for a Disneyland breakfast again.

Starbucks New Home In Disneyland in 2013. The Market House

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cars Land is Great...BUT...

I still remember a co-worker a few weeks ago telling me how amazed she was at Cars Land. "They really did create the town of Radiator Springs" she said. Yes they did as I gazed upon the new star of Disney California Adventure for the first time. Cars Land is amazing, exquisitely detailed in the daytime, jaw dropping gorgeous lit up in neon at night. And you can see why everyone says that the Cars Land signature attraction, Radiator Springs Racers, is Walt Disney Imagineering's greatest attraction since the Indiana Jones Adventure in the early 90's.

Radiator Springs Racers is a great ride, about 4 minutes of pure fun and amazing sights. And it's fun for all ages proving that great ride enjoyment isn't dependent on a roller coaster as is the route for most theme parks. The only disappointing part of Radiator Springs Racers is the fun seems to end much too quickly. It whips through the amazing show building at a pretty good clip, then really takes off when the ride gets out on the track. The ride gets an A+ in my book though if you were to push me up against a wall, I would say Toy Story Midway Mania is still my favorite ride in DCA.

We ate at Flo's V8 Cafe twice during our stay. They serve a fine meal at a good price considering it's Disney. And they serve the Racer 5 IPA to boot, a fine beer on a warm day. We also visited most of the "Cozy Cones" for their snack food concoctions and drinks and found them to be very good for the most part. If you want to eat in DCA, you could do worse that what is served up in the town of Radiator Springs in Cars Land.

Of the six days we spent at the Disneyland Resort, about 3 days were spent in Disneyland, about two and a half days in Disney California Adventure, and about a half a day in Downtown Disney. That seems about right. By the time we left DCA last Wednesday for the last time, I had seen enough of Cars Land. Too much of a good thing perhaps? I don't know, I just know that I had spent enough time there and knew I was done with the place even though we still had two more days left on our trip. Here is the problem. You can build themes for park areas around Paradise Pier or Adventureland, building area themes that are actually based on movies is a bit more trickier as is the example over in ToonTown or A Bug's Land - these are park areas based on movies that are now quite old and mostly forgotten. What will Cars Land be like in 10, 15, 20, years from now? Cars remains a hot property for Disney and Pixar despite the fact that Cars 2 was Pixar's worst movie by far, but will it always remain that way?

There are other problems with Cars Land. One, there is little shade there. With the place still pulling in large numbers of people, a hot day in there can be stifling. Two, the Luigi's Flying Tires attraction is silly and a bad idea (Mater's Junkyard Jamboree on the other hand is far more delightful). And finally my main reason for why Cars Land grew tiresome - the voice of Larry the Cable Guy as Tow Mater seems to be heard constantly almost everywhere. To me, that voice is like fingernails across a blackboard.

Now that I have experienced Cars Land, as an adult, I can only think of two reasons to spend any amount of time there - I like Flo's as a counter service dining restarurant and Radiator Springs Racers is great and a must do on every trip. The rest of it - well I can mostly leave it.

Main Street USA - Video from Disneyland History Institute

Before I get too far into my own Disneyland trip, the good folks at The Disneyland History Institute released another one of their fine historical Disneyland videos, this one telling the story of Main Street USA in the words of Walt Disney himself. This video goes along well with my trip. Of all we've seen and done in and around the Disneyland Resort, nothing is finer than being on Main Street. It's where it all begins and all ends.

The Disneyland Traveler Returns...From Disneyland

Well, we are back. Our 6 day trip to Disneyland is now a whirlwind of random thoughts and memories. Now over the next several days, weeks, and even months, I get to try to assemble Disneyland pieces still floating in my brain into coherent reflections of a place that really means a lot to me. Sitting on a bench on Main St. waiting for the start of Mickey's Soundsational Parade (surprisingly entertaining and excellent - more later) I turned to Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and said, "You know, this is the part I like best".

Sitting on that bench, people gathered. People from all over the world. If there was rude or bad behavior by people in the six days we were in the park, I really didn't see any. What I did see were people and families having a good time. I saw an awful lot of smiles. When the parade started, children lit up like Christmas trees smiling, laughing and pointing at the assortment of characters as they passed by. It was a joyful celebration and that pretty much describes our week.

Oh for sure, there were hits and there were misses, but overall we had a wonderful time. It would be nice to sit here and tell of how rejuvenated and refreshed I feel but truth be told, Mrs. DLT and I are exhausted. Our feet our sore, our bodies beaten down and worn out. But it's all worth it. Thousands of steps produces a multitude of memories. For those down on Disney for its corporate calculating plan to separate people from their money in every conceivable way possible, the one thing that often gets left out is that Disney and Disneyland knows how to deliver first class entertainment. Whatever we ended up spending on this trip, it was worth every penny. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Assembling A Disneyland Trip - #4

So here I am in my cubicle at work trying to tie up loose ends so I can get out of here this afternoon with a clear conscience. Then I get the call. I should have expected it. It's Mrs. DisneylandTraveler on the other end - "I've got so much to do to get ready!!! I've got clothes to wash. Everything has been moved out of the bedroom because the carpet cleaners are here. I haven't even begun to pack. I wanted to get my toe nails done....."
Toe nails?
I wanted to make a remark to her about passing on the toe nails and spend more time about what goes in the suitcase but thought better of it. A remark like "It's your feet - nobody cares about your feet in Disneyland. Besides if you don't spend at least 80% of your time in comfortable tennis shoes, your probably going to be sorry". I wanted to say that but didn't. We've got a good 7 or 8 hours in the car together tomorrow and I've been on trips where the bulk of it was spent in awkward silence. Not fun (works better on the ride home). Instead, I reassured her not to worry and that it will all get done.
So tonite the pressure will build and the delicate dance is on to not say anything that will send a panic stricken Mrs. DLT over the edge. We've done this enough times to know exactly we need to do. There shouldn't be any panic involved but the reality is that before Disneyland magic begins there is a period of time when fun and magic are the furthest things from your mind.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Assembling A Disneyland Trip - #3

There was an old show on TV - The A Team - whose catch phrase was "I love it when a plan comes together". Despite our busy schedules Mrs. DisneyTraveler and my Disneyland trip is coming together.
Mrs. DLT purchased our tickets this morning. We plan to be in Disneyland for 6 days. Disney in their infinite wisdom decided to do away with 6, 7, and 8 day parkhoppers (though supposedly these are still available in packages for visitors from other countries). People also said if you beg enough you can get extra days added to your parkhopper at the park but its kind of a hassle involving getting a supervisor and such. So we would have had to buy a 5 day parkhopper plus an extra day admission - about $415. Mrs. DLT, who scours the internet for every possible cost cutting measure, found Deluxe Annual passes for $445 from our Credit Union (regularly $469). Given that we pretty much eat all our meals in the parks or Downtown Disney and AP's get a 10% discount on meals, that savings alone makes up the price difference between the parkhopper route and the Annual Pass. And if we can make another trip this year, we're all set with tickets. AP's give you freedom because a big expense (admission) is taken care of.
My sister picked up the tab for our hotel room. Kind of a pay back because we have treated her to hitch a ride on a few of our trips the last few years. Every trip we have made since 2008, we have always stayed at the Candy Cane Inn, a lovely place, but a bit pricey for Harbor Blvd hotel. My sister got us into the Anaheim Plaza Inn for almost half the price of the Candy Cane Inn. The reviews on tripadvisor.com are generally good but not great with a few down right frightening. The Candy Cane Inn gets the best reviews of almost any hotel in Anaheim including the Disney properties. This will either work or turn us back to the Candy Cane (or a Disney property that we treat ourselves to every so often) for all future trips. We shall see. It's only about a 5 minute walk to the Disneyland main gates (10 if you walk like me).
Tickets - check. Hotel - check.
Instead of taking our gas sucking SUV, we are opting for a rental car for our trip.
Transportation - check.
What's left? Packing along with money and a well prepared charge card.
Mrs. DLT went out last night and bought a Birnbaum's Disneyland Travel Guide for 2013. Not sure why she did this. This blog is longer than that book and probably covers the same material.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Assembling A Disneyland Trip - #2

In a way it's kind of too bad. We've been soooo busy around the house the last few weeks preparing for Mrs. DisneylandTraveler's father to come live with us that we have not had that wonderful sense of anticipation a trip to Disneyland can bring. No time. We've been kind of robbed of the planning, the thinking about what to pack, checking for the latest weather conditions in Anaheim, and just kind of having fun mapping out your days. Like I said, if someone told me the bus to Disneyland leaves in about 2 hours, I could be ready but there is just plain something fun about methodically plotting, planning, and scheming while the anticipation builds for a trip. You could easilily turn a trip to Disneyland into an event that takes several weeks (or months if you are talking about a trip to Walt Disney World). But this year, just a lot of preoccupation with other matters going on in our lives culminating in last night's annual filing of our income taxes. Its a wonder there is any money left over at all for a trip to Disneyland.
Anyway, many of the things that has been taking so much of our time have been settled and now we have about 3 days to get ourselves together for our trip. Can I make a suggestion to other Disneyland travelers out there? You don't have to get anything very fancy but make sure you have a suitcase (preferably with wheels) that can handle most of your clothing, shoes, the bathroom items. Here's the deal. We made a trip to Disneyland a few years ago with my sister. Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I each had our large suitcases containing most of our packables. My sister on the otherhand, since we were driving, had most of her packing items in backbacks, boxes, and assorted Wal-Mart bags. Doable if you have bell service but if you stay at a hotel that does not offer that service then guess who gets to make the 15 trips up the stairs to our second story room carrying assorted backpacks, boxes, and plastic baggies. That turned out to be my job. I was pooped before we ever settled in and headed to the park.
Mrs. DLT isn't perfect when it comes to packing, insisting we bring our own coffee pot for the room, laundry detergent and fabric softener, a portable fan, and cooler of assorted drinks along with some in room food snacks. I'm used to that. I guess it was my sister packing all her belongings in a dozen different containers that got to me. I'm a big believer in large suitcases and cramming as much as you can in it. It shouldn't take an hour of exhaustion to get your belongings into a hotel room
So guess what tonight brings? Getting out the large suitcase out and begin to put things in it. One suitcase for wearables and toilettries and a backback for cameras, chargers, and cables. Add my laptop and I'm good to go for a week. One trip from the car to the room for me.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Assembling A Disneyland Trip - #1

So now the fun begins as I begin to think about where I absolutely must be on the Disney property on certain days and at certain times.  It all starts with knowing what time the parks open and close and what shows are performing on what days. During our trip, Disneyland and DCA will have early closing Mon - Thurs. Bummer.  It gets the old Disneyland Traveler in bed at decent hour but limits some of the peformances. Basically, Fantasmic and Fireworks will on go off on the Sunday and Friday nights on the days we are there. (World of Color performs every night - no issue)
I haven't seen Cars Land yet. And by all accounts, everyone says you must see Cars Land at night and its nice to be there when the lights come on.  On Sunday night there is the time and opportunity to get the full effect of Cars Land even if we don't even get on a ride on a crowded night.  There may be chances to see it during the week but with DCA closing at 9, the time is severely constrained. So on the Sunday night of our first day in the park, you can probably find me over at Cars Land at dusk. I'll be the one with the camera (if Mrs. DisneylandTraveler can find the camera which seems to be a current issue).
I do want to see Fantasmic so that will have to wait until Friday which works out since the Sunday night performance of Fantasmic will have the alternate ending with the Mark Twain still in refurbishment until mid-week. It should be running for the Friday night show (watch it be cancelled due to wind and all my planning shot to you know what).
If I have the energy after 6 full days in Disneyland, maybe I can catch both Fireworks and Fantasmic on Friday. That's a big "If". 

Disneyland Attractions WDW Wishes They Had - Disney Dose

Mr Toad's Wild Ride - Disneyland Has One
WDW Got Rid Of Theirs
Them's fighting words.... In my latest post to the Disney Dose website, while getting ready for my next trip to Disneyland, I take on the Disneyland attractions Walt Disney World wishes they had. Before you get too carried away, later on, I will write about the WDW attractions I wish were somewhere in the confines of the Disneyland Resort.

Direct link to the post -

Disneyland Attractions WDW Wishes They Had

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Roger Ebert (RIP) and Song Of The South

The Roger Ebert I Remember
Film critic Roger Ebert passed away earlier today after a long battle with cancer. At the time of his death, he could no longer eat or speak nor do these two common things we take for granted for several years. Cancer ravaged his body. His spirit continued to smile, move on, and led him to do the things which he held most dear - write, comment, and watch movies.

Probably for the better part of 40 years, Roger Ebert was a part of my life. He was the most influential film critic of his generation though he would probably smirk at that. When a new movie came out, everyone quickly ran to Roger Ebert in print and on TV to see what he thought of a movie. And up until his death in 1999, everyone went to Ebert and his longtime partner in film criticism crime Gene Siskel who passed away that year also from cancer, to see if they gave a movie thumbs up or thumbs down. Roger Ebert took intellectual film criticism and gave it accessibility to the masses. Rather than the snobbish, elitist movie reviews that were common in the 50's and 60's, Ebert looked at films from a common place perspective. His movie reviews were easy to read. His TV reviews were succinct and to the point. He loved movies. He praised them when they were good and railed against the ones that were bad. You could agree or disagree with Ebert but you just want to hear what he had to say.

Which brings me Walt Disney's Song of the South from 1946 long considered a Disney classic but withheld from distribution in the United States for decades because of it's racial undertones. Certainly Walt Disney didn't have any racial prejudices when he produced and released the film but the times we live in now define our sensibilities. Today, the film is considered 'politically incorrect' as the buzz words go in the U.S. Though filled with love and warmth from Uncle Remus and his characters, the film set in the post Civil War era still exudes a sometimes painful separation of black and white races.

Disney refuses to release the movie in the U.S. on blu-ray or any other home media.It's been that way for years though the film is available in other parts of the world (and available if you desire to get a copy). Disney fans and film historians constantly debate whether the film should be released. As Disney CEO Bob Iger has said many times that though releasing the film would bring Disney some financial gain, sometimes you don't do things because you think it is the right thing to do.

And that's the main problem with releasing Song of the South. It is constantly debated by Disney fans (like anyone who has every been on Splash Mountain or sang along with Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah") and film historians. It's debated by adults. But leave it Roger Ebert to take a different, simple, eloquent  position. Though Ebert hated film censorship of any kind, he believed Song of the South should be best left discussed in serious context with film schools. He looked at the film from the eyes of a child - "Any Disney film immediately becomes part of the consciousness of almost every child in America, and I would not want to be a black child going to school in the weeks following the release of Song of the South was first seen by my classmates" Ebert wrote. It should be mentioned while Roger Ebert had no children, he was married to an woman of African-American descent for many years. 

I admired Roger Ebert, his writing and his ability to take a subject matter such as film criticism and make it entertaining on TV. I subscribe to Twitter feeds from actors Albert Brooks and Steve Martin. Today they remembered the fondness for having known Roger Ebert though he occasionally ripped them in his commentaries for their performances. They both said he was a very nice and kind man and they would miss him greatly.

Roger Ebert Toward the End of His Inspiring Life

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Another Visit From The Disney Collectible Curmudgeon


With now less than 2 weeks from actually being in Disneyland, my attention turns toward my least favorite aspect of any trip to Disneyland - shopping. I know that makes me the exception from most people that pass through the turnstiles. I can't feel too bad though. Mrs. DisneylandTraveler more than makes up from my absence from the stores. She can't pass by one without stopping which usually leaves me on a nearby bench - which I am actually fine with, that is until that innevitable text message or phone call comes that says "come in here, I need you to look at something". That little trip from the bench to the store usually costs me $$$.
Now if I'm being honest, there are a couple of stores I like. There is Off The Page in DCA. And I like Disneyana on Main St. but its due to close right around the time I show up and eventually merge in with the Disney Gallery. These stores sell some nice things. And I like The Gag Factory because of its whimsy and seemingly doesn't take itself too seriously. The rest of the stores, you can have them, even though I know Mrs. DLT will call me into each and every one of them before our week's stay is through.
But still, Disney tries to guilt me into collecting something. I've tried but I just can't seem to generate any enthusiasm for Disney collecting. I have several Disney baseball hats but I don't wear any Disney clothing outside my visits to the park. The hats are more functinal than decorative. All other Disney clothing items end up in the closet or drawers. I've got a couple of pins, but when I go into a pin shop, I get dizzy from the shear volume of pins available. Vinylmation? I would rather spend 24 hrs going round and round on it's a small world before I let one of those hidious little abominations in my house. We have Disney coffee cups and maybe a shot glass or two but nothing in the realm of being a collection. Did I mention I am also....eh......extremely "practical" when it comes to Disney shopping. Mrs. DLT calls it......eh........being cheap.
As I've mentioned before we have maybe eight Disneyland poster prints nicely framed and distributed around the house. I like most of them (though I've kind of soured on the Kinkade prints since the guy kind of turned out to be something of a liar and a fraud). Mrs. DLT has a few very nice Mickey and Minnie Lenox pieces in her curio cabinet. Maybe that's the secret. When shopping at Disneyland, resist the urge to collect for collectibles sake. If you see something that's nice and you can see it occupying a nice place in your home, go for it. Let's face it, 90% if what's sold at the stores in the parks is junk. But Disney also sells some very nice things. My goal is to forget about the collecting and if I see something I really would like, then send Mrs. DLT over pick it up. She'll buy anthing.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Two Week Disneyland Countdown

I'm still finding it hard to believe but two weeks from today, at this very minute that I am writing this, I will be sitting in a hotel room at the Candy Cane Inn on Harbor Blvd. drinking a cup of coffee and lamenting the fact Disneyland doesn't open until 10 am. Darn it! Where are those 8 am park openings when you really want them? Oh well, two weeks from today I will be in Disneyland. I will get to walk down Main St. again; take the "grand circle tour" on the Disneyland Railroad; take my rightful seat on a Pirates of the Caribbean boat. Of course, something could happen between now and then that would prevent this little adventure from happening. There is a lot going in real world lives of Mr. and Mrs. DisneylandTraveler right now, much of it semi-unpredictable. But we both have decided that getting away to our favorite place is the right thing to do.

If you are  the occasional Disneyland visitor or vacationer, the two weeks and counting mark is when the real trip planning begins. You begin thinking about what to pack and what you're going to do when you get there. Anticipation and excitement build as you pour over all the Disneyland information that you can get your hands on to see just how you are going to put your adventure together. For me, two weeks is not the point where the preparation begins. If you gave me 2 days to pack and prepare, that would be more than enough time. Heck, if you gave 2 hours to get ready, I could even do that assuming that all my laundry is done. For Mrs. DLT and me, our preparation is never hurried or stressful. We know exactly what we need to do and when to do it. Experience is a good teacher but I must say I am a bit envious of those who build with anticipation weeks in advance of their Disneyland trips. Please note our preparation for our trip to Disneyland is a complete 180 from when we tried to prepare for a trip to Walt Disney World a few years ago. Preparing for a trip to WDW defines the word stress because of all the planning involved. We finally had to get a travel agent to do it for us.

So right now everything is easy. Yesterday, I had the Boy find me the movie camera that he had borrowed last summer. I haven't tested it to see if it still works. I know Mrs. DLT has our regular digital camera somewhere because she used it to take pictures for some stuff she sold on eBay. I asked her about the camera's whereabouts but like a lot of things I ask her about, I know it will take a couple of more reminders until she actually gets around to look for it. I've checked the park entertainment schedule to see when the parks actually open and close, what shows are playing on what day, and of course everyone's favorite - what rides are closed for refurbishment.

I'm a little bummed that the Mark Twain, which was due to open today after a lengthy refurbishment, has had its closure extended to the middle of our trip - April 17. At least it will open while we are there. A trip to Disneyland would be lacking something if I could not make that trip around the Rivers of America at least once. Looks like the Matterhorn Bobsleds will be closed. Even though I haven't been on the ride since they replaced the sleds (with sleds no one seems to like) I've been on the ride enough to be able to replay the whole experience in my head right now so its closure is not a big deal to me. The Thunder Mountain Railroad closure is a given. It's one thing to close a ride for a few weeks and just have the bad timing for it to be down while you're there. When a ride closes for practically a whole year like TMRR, that's something completely different. I really don't even think about missing it.

What I'm going to think about most at least for the next week is the hundreds of pictures I plan to take. I'm going to focus on that. And I'm also going to think about food. On our last several trips, Mrs. DLT and I have eaten quite a few of our meals at Disneyland and DCA's table service restaurants to the point where its been several years since I last visited certain counter service dining facilities. I think we will make those a bigger point of emphasis this time around.

Excitement and anticipation, I think I can talk myself into it.

Disneyland Traveler Blog Adds More Fun

Mrs. DisneylandTraveler walked up to me a little while ago and made the comment "You know, you should made the blog a little more fun, why not add a Disneyland Trivia Question or something".

Somewhat surprised I replied "You know, that's a pretty good idea".

And so I have added a Disneyland Trivia Question to the blog. The answer to the question is at the bottom of the right hand column. I also plan to archive the questions so maybe the readers can impress their families, friends, and neighbors with their Disneyland trivia and knowledge. It's called being a smarty-pants.

While I was over in the right hand column of this blog, I took a look at the other gadgets Google has to offer and put over there. There is plenty of space to try out new things. How about a poll? Let's give that a try. And a Top 10 list that can be changed out from time to time. That's not bad idea either. I've even added a mini-movie review section. So far I have resisted Google's offer to stick advertising links over there. The Disneyland Traveler Blog is still ad free and a labor of love.

As the Disneyland Traveler Blog comes up on it's second anniversary, there is always room for improvement. More Disney fun and information, nothing wrong with that at all.