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Saturday, May 14, 2016

Guardians of the Tower of Terror

So five years after buying Marvel and making piles of money in the process, Disney still doesn't have a high profile Marvel presence in the Disneyland / Disney California Adventure theme parks.  Or sure, there have been a slew of meet and greets along with various movies prop displays, but nothing with a WOW factor.  So the rumor is now out there from various blogs and Disney gossip websites that rather than spending gobs of money on a Marvel attraction (especially while large sums of cash are being plowed down on Star Wars efforts), why not just take an existing attraction that doesn't quite fit the Disney profile anyway and re-theme it to a Marvel movie tie-in.

And so we get the highly probable rumor from various inside sources that Disney will take the existing Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction in Disney California Adventure and re-theme to Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (a second Guardians movie is due out next year).  Sounds like a pretty workable idea to me.  I wouldn't mind getting frightened out of my wits on a a scary ride with a fresh look.

The Force Finally Woke Up

After delaying and delaying, I finally put in the Blu-Ray disc and watched Star Wars VIII:  The Force Awakens last Saturday morning.  I would have to say I enjoyed the film but wasn't exactly wowed over by it after all these years. Sure it was good to see some old friends, Hans, Chewbacca, Leia but some of the others had parts so small you wondered if they were necessary at all Luke, CP3O and R2D2.  All that was left of Darth Vader was a deflated mask.  But a new new fresh cast of characters, heroes and villains alike,, were allowed to get into the story and will carry the saga forward.  It was something that needed to be done as time doesn't stand still and some of the old characters are getting just that - old. 

The movie is still in the Blu_Ray player so I am hoping that sometime this weekend I can find the time to give it another viewing before putting it away.  

No More Disney Dollars

Disney Dollars have been around forever as a favorite of kids and collectors.  I know someone with stacks of 'em.  Well, starting May 16, Disneyland is doing away with Disney Dollars and they will no longer be available for purchase.  The Disney Dollar has gone the way of the dinosaur and Disney will no longer be offering them instead going with the more preferred tool of currency exchange these days - the infamous gift card.

So what about those people who are sitting on stacks of Disney Dollars.  Well, they are redeemable forever so they still can be used to buy things in the park, just new ones will not be sold.  But what most likely will happen is the people who have the Disney Dollars will hang on to them and offer them up on eBay at a hefty profit as the dollars, like anything Disney, increase in value over time.

And what about Disney?  For years they basically sat on free money selling currency the may never be redeemed for anything.  Just selling pieces of paper.  Genius.

Johnny Depp's Mad Disneyland Surprise

As Disney is set to open it's new film Alice Through the Looking Glass, Disney Park's Blog posted a rather surprising visit of Johnny Depp to Disneyland in full Mad Hatter costume. Very surprising indeed. Check out Disney's video of Mr. Depp's rather sudden appearance.

Again, the Alice Movies aren't exactly my cup of tea but you have to admit this is a pretty fun video.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Go Ask Alice....

Gotta say......really not looking forward to this. 

A Face Lift for Soarin'

View from Soarin' Around the World - A Disney Parks Blog Photo
Who doesn't love the Soarin' Over California attraction at DCA? Well, Mrs. DisneylandTraveler doesn't because she says the all to common "it messes with my head". Anyway, most people love Soarin' Over California but after all these years, you have to admit the ride has become a little long in the tooth and well......a bit boring. Finally, after all these years, Disney is giving us a new movie and a new ride experience with Soarin' Around the World which is set to launch on June 17 in both DCA and Epcot in the all new pristine 4K digital projection. I've skipped the Soarin' Over California ride my last few trips to Disneyland simply because it had become been there, done that. But put a big mark for the new and improved Soarin' on my next trip. Maybe I can even talk Mrs. DLT into going with me........ :-)


You may not some of his antics on stage. You may not have wanted your young children to really hear some of the lyrics of his songs but without a doubt, The Artist known as Prince was a supreme musical talent and a performer second to none. Someone asked Eric Clapton what it was like to be the world's greatest guitar player.  Clapton quietly said don't ask me - go ask Prince. The little man, all five foot two of him, was a giant in music and culture. Very hard to believe he is now gone. RIP

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Food Sampling from Disneyland's Food & Wine Festival

The Food and Wine Festival is in full swing at Disney California Adventure this month, a welcome return for an event that has been missing the last few years. The Disneyland Resort posted a video this week of the some of the more exotic food selections available at this this year's F & W Festival. No churros here just some high quality munchies you just don't see every day at everyone's favorite theme park. Hopefully, it's an event that continues to grow in popularity and in size. I certainly look forward to my return.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

A Heartfelt Thank You To Our Readers

Quietly, over the last week or two, the number of page views of The Disneyland Traveler Blog slipped past the 200,000 mark. That may not be a lot by internet standards but for a guy who basically writes this on a laptop sitting in his chair in the living room at his home in Northern California, it seems like a pretty nice number to me. This blog began in 2011 simply out of Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and my own affection for Disneyland and just about all things Disney related, As noted in the header paragraph, we are not here to make money as most Disney websites, it's basically just a hobby and a place to share beyond Facebook or Twitter.

This blog went dark and was not updated from Halloween 2014 till February of this year. During that time, Mrs. DLT and myself took her ailing father into our home and who sadly was burdened by the horrible affliction known as Alzheimer's Disease. Basically his care took all of our focus and attention and the Disney stuff went on the back burner. I heard from many people during the time the blog was not updated asking what happened and when was the blog going to restart. I didn't have an answer at the time but I really appreciated all the emails that I received and the people who who showed they enjoyed what was being written here. Even though the blog was not updated, it continued to be read by the internet public searching for Disneyland information so that was also nice to see also. 

The Disneyland Traveler Blog is making it's slow return back to life. It's not completely back yet but things look promising for it's future. 

Thank you for reading and I hope you continue to enjoy The Disneyland Traveler Blog.  

Jon Favreau, The Jungle Book, Iron Man, and Eric the Clown

Disney posted a picture of director Jon Favreau in Disneyland (actually DCA) this week as part of the promotional activities for next week's premier of Favreau's remake of the Disney classic - The Jungle Book. In the promotional TV ads, it is also splashed on the screen that Favreau is the director of Iron Man (the first two anyway). Favreau also played the character Happy Hogan, Tony Stark's driver.

Though Jon Favreau is best known now as a film director, he has dabbled as an actor for years, mostly as a comedic actor. My best memory of Jon Favreau as an actor is his appearance in a classic episode of Seifeld as the menacing Eric the Clown.

Jon Favreau as Eric the Clown

Disney COO Tom Staggs Abruptly Exits - What Happened?

Tom and Mick

Last Monday was a shocking day for the Walt Disney Company on the business side of things. Chief Operating Officer (COO) Tom Staggs who, by almost all accounts, was heir apparent to become the main man at Disney when Chief Executive Office (CEO) Bob Iger was going to step down into retirement in 2018, abruptly tendered his resignation from the company effective in May.   The succession plan for Staggs to become CEO was in place, almost a done deal. What went wrong?

Tom Staggs spent 26 years at Disney.  He was the Chief Financial Officer during the Pixar and Marvel acquisitions.  He was head of Disney Parks and Resorts during the Disney California Adventure makeover and expansion of the Disney Cruise Line. He was popular, well liked by executives as well as rank and file Disney employees. By all appearances, he was literally Bob Iger's right hand man for the last several years. What went wrong?

Well you hear rumblings about the enormous expense of the $5.5 billion construction of Shanghai Disneyland filled with cost overruns along with the project was just flat out late on being ready on time under Stagg's watch. You hear about all the obstacles that have hijacked the smooth construction of the Avatar Land in Walt Disney World.

But mostly, you hear stories that the all powerful Disney Board of Directors not having confidence that Staggs was not the right fit for taking on the tremendously powerful Disney CEO job into the future. I've seen some accounts that some thought that Staggs lacked the necessary creative vision for the company built on creative vision. I've also read account where the Board was a little concerned that Staggs lacked the experience in the important and highly profitable media outlets (ABC-TV, Disney Channels, and the mighty cash cow that is ESPN). This is the area where Bob Iger launched his way to the top.

Variety reported that Staggs was looking for a commitment from the Board of Directors that he indeed would become CEO in 2018. When the vote of confidence did not come, it was adios amigos. He seemed like a nice guy. A lot of people will miss Tom Staggs. I'm sure he will end up doing well somewhere else.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Hits Retail Shelves This Week

I'm probably one of the 37 people who did not see Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Star Wars VII) in the theaters when it came out in December.  Other issues had my attention for the last several months so I just never got around to visiting my local multiplex.  But that's about to change because the latest installment of the highly popular and profitable franchise is due to hit the retail shelves with DVD's and Blu-Ray discs this coming Tuesday (4/5).  Actually Mrs. DisneylandTraveler ordered my Blu-Ray from the Disney Movie Club because......well.......that's the last purchase we needed to make to fulfill our minimum purchase obligation when we joined the club in the first place.

Anyway, the film is available in only Blu-Ray and DVD when it comes out on Tuesday.  If you want it in 3D (which I don't) or 4K UHD (which I am probably going to invest in very soon) your are going to have to wait. I imagine we'll see new versions and packaging for years to come because that's the Star Wars (and Disney) way.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Splash Mountain - Fun Times - Till Someone Rips Your Face Off

Someone I work with posted this to Facebook with the caption "Go to Disneyland, they said. It'll be fun, they said."  Yep, Happiest Place on Earth.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Vintage Disneyland (Remember When?)

First off, these pictures are not mine, but this morning I was just Googling vintage Disneyland photos and these popped up. Without mentioning my age, and going back through the years, I still remember when Disney had the views from what is depicted these photographs. It's a little bit of journey back in time. I remember leaving a little Instamatic camera on one of those Skyway buckets. Never did get it back.

I remember making that long drive from Northern California with my parents and being greeted by this sign. Few things in my life have given me such shear excitement as being a kid, pulling close to the park, and seeing this sight. We made it!

I remember when a trip on the parking lot tram was a ride for me.  And a space age monorail? Life doesn't get a better than a ride on that.

Remember when the subs were painted drab Navy gray and the journey around the lagoon was a journey of unexplored adventure touched with a bit of science? It was a far cry from chasing after a cartoon fish as it is today.

The People Mover was a slow ponderous ride. It was also classic Disney and sorely missed. Back in the day, the Astro Orbitor sat up on an elevated platform bringing your further up in the sky.

Yep, those were the days. Those were the days. A Magic Kingdom indeed for a little kid.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Return of Indiana Jones

Disney and Lucasfilm (now owned by Disney) announced a few days ago that a 5th Indiana Jones film (currently untitled) would come out in theaters July 19,2019 with both Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg returning as star and director. By my quick calculation, when Indiana Jones comes back again, Harrison Ford will be 76 years old. At 76, you probably don't outrun too many boulders or spears. You also probably can't take to many punches to the noggin. I'm not close to 76 and I'm trying to gather enough strength to go out and mow the lawn.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Return of the Mad Hatter

Oh no!.  Just in time for Memorial Day Weekend, Johnny Depp returns as the Mad Hatter in Alice Through the Looking Glass.  And here come my nightmares.  And there go my hopes of giving DCA's Mad T Party the boot. It's not going anywhere.

Captain America Civil War Trailer 2

So it's an election year and everyone is picking sides. Over on the political side, it may end up being Donald vs. Hillary. Coming up with DC Comics you have Batman vs. Superman.  And now with Disney's Marvel Comics, a new trailer for Captain America Civil War we are now put in between the Captain's side and Iron Man's side. Not sure sure where that 3rd guy fits into all this? Can't we all just get along?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The World of Color Dessert Party

Mrs. DisneylandTraveler is not huge fan of DCA's World of Color water show spectacular. Oh, the show is fine, glorious in fact. Mrs. DLT's issue is the endless standing. Standing to wait for the show to begin, standing throughout the 25 minute performance. After and hour and half of standing around, it's then time to leave and Mrs. DLT, after being on her feet in one spot for that long, is pretty cranky.

But the Disney people are solutions oriented and understand the issue with their guests having to stand for endless amounts of time for a nighttime show after running around their theme parks all day. The good folks at Disney announced a World of Color Dessert Party offering last week which promises a nice seat with the prime view of the show. And you get a dessert to boot. The cost for a seat and something like a cupcake? How about a nice $79 per person (but that includes tax and gratuity).

Mrs. DLT is sleeping in this morning. Can't wait to tell her that Disney is finally offering a seat for the World of Color show. She'll be thrilled. And when I tell her it's only $79, she's probably going to want to break something. I'll tell her the good news, probably at a safe distance of about 20 ft.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Frozen in May

Brrrrrrr.......Shiver........ The new Frozen musical opens at the Hyperion Theater May 27.  I've been Frozened to death over the last year or two and sure didn't want this.

Please remember fondly the great 12 year run of the wonderful Aladdin musical. Gone but certainly never forgotten.  We'll miss you Genie.

Read to Ride on Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters in Cars Land

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters is officially set to open in Disney California Adventure Cars Land on March 7 replacing the much maligned, slow, ponderous, confusing, and sometimes dangerous Luigi's Flying Tires which were shut down about a year ago.

While the new ride hardly looks like must do entertainment on your checklist, it does look a little bit fun if the annoying soundtrack doesn't get to you.  All in all, you would have to consider the new ride attraction a bit of an improvement over the previous occupant of that space.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Naples Ristorante: Downtown Disney

Before I come home at night, I normally call Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and ask her if there is something I can bring home for dinner. Pizza is usually a choice about once a week. Now we have the usual dreck of of Dominoes, Little Caesars, and Papa Johns. And we have a couple of other pizza places that are definitely a step up from those chain establishments. We also have a of couple pizza restaurants that are really a cut above but those are usually reserved for a weekend visit. Anyway, when I think about pizza, my mind will always drift to Naples in Downtown Disney. What better place to enjoy a slice or two than sitting outside on a warm sunny afternoon day or early evening, reflecting on your Disney day, and just generally people watch with all the Downtown Disney activity. For me its really special experience  Naples is my favorite place for pizza by far.

Of course there is a full compliment of pastas, sandwiches, and salads to choose from as well.

And of course there is always this to wash it all down nicely.....

I know I have written a piece in this blog about Naples Ristorante before but seeing some new pictures jogged some old and special memories. It was time to revisit.

Not Every Disney Character is Cute

I was going through some Disneyland photos that I had taken over a year ago but didn't look at until today. You know how everyone thinks of Disney characters as cute, lovable, and memorable. Well, every once in awhile I can come across a character that flat out gives me the creeps. Taken at the World of Disney Downtown Disney Store - this is nightmare material here.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

DCA Turns 15 Years Old

It's hard to believe Disney California Adventure turned 15 years old this month. A lot has changed because a lot had to change for the much maligned park that opened back then. I guess you could say most of the changes of have been for the better and it is a far better park now than when it first opened. These are few of the Disneyland Traveler's pictures of DCA in 2002 - views that have been radically altered if not completely eliminated.

Return of the DCA Food & Wine Festival

I haven't been paying to close of attention to what's been going on down at the Disneyland Resort lately for assorted reasons. This one slipped by me - the return of the Food & Wind Festival at Disney California Adventure which was dropped a few years back.. This event was fun, a lot of fun. Glad to see the return of a good thing. Probably too late to get it together for 2016 F & W Festival, but 2017? Thinking ahead, way ahead. Weekends only during April.

Disneyland 60 Airs Tonight on ABC

Tonight Disney airs the Disneyland 60 Wonderful World of Disney two hour special on ABC TV (Disney owned of course),  I have my bar set pretty low as to look for two hours of prime time entertainment or what most Disney specials on TV turn out to be: one long infomercial promoting all things Disney.

So what if it is an infomercial.  It's mid-February and it seems like a pretty nice thing to do - to hope, to dream, to plan of your next Disney experience.

Below is an official Disney promotional photo from tonight's special. As I recall when the Indiana Jones Adventure ride was under construction, Harrison Ford would not allow his likeness or voice used in the ride. Funny how time changes things.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Hello? I've Been Away For Awhile

The Disneyland Traveler has been away for awhile. (More on that later).  But I hear things are changing down Disneyland way.  Change for the better remains to be seen.