Category Archives: Disneyland Park

Disney’s Main Street Cinema

One of the original attractions at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland is the Main Street Cinema.  This is a place where guests could go relax while watching an classic short usually involving Mickey Mouse.  Since their openings, however, the two cinemas have taken distinctly different paths.  The Disneyland Main Street Cinema has remained a place for guests to catch a classic Disney short.  The Walt Disney World Cinema, over time, became more and more of a gift shop and less of a cinema.  The cinema became a full time gift shop in 1998.  I would like to take a look back at both Main Street Cinemas.

Continue reading Disney’s Main Street Cinema

Remembering 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

It’s been 20 years since one of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions closed…..20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  The attraction was based off the movie of the same name.  The attraction never actually went under the sea.  Guests entered boats and sat below the water line while the boat went around a track.  Bubbles were used to simulate going deeper and deeper into the water.

photo courtesy of Larry D. Moore
photo courtesy of Larry D. Moore

The attraction went on an underwater journey which started with a surface storm and the boat descending into the water to avoid the storm.  It continued through the wreckage of other boats and a journey to the South Pole.  The attraction concluded with a voyage to the lost city of Atlantis before re-surfacing. The attraction was very popular, however, line management led to its demise.  The unloading/loading time was very long.  Each boat sat 40 guests and the boats came in groups in three (there were 12 boats in total).  In addition, the ride was very expensive to maintain.  It was these two factors which led to the attractions closing despite its popularity.  The attraction was converted into Ariel’s Grotto but then the lagoon was filled in.  The attraction became Pooh’s Playful Spot and now the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Three of the 12 boats were saved from the landfill. One of the boats can be seen on the Backlot Tour at Hollywood Studios.  The other two boats were shipped to Castaway Cay and sunk.  They are now part of the snorkeling lagoon.  For guests who still pine for this attraction can go to Disneyland where the attraction has been converted to Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage or to Tokyo Disneysea where it operates as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

One of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage boats
One of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage boats

Haunted Mansion Trivia

Welcome to another edition of Tiggerific Trivia Tuesday hosted by the Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, My Dreams of Disney, and Heidi’s Head.

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia

Today, I’m taking a closer look at the very popular Haunted Mansion attraction.  Did you know that The Haunted Mansion attraction is in five Disney Parks in some form?

Guests entering the original Haunted Mansion at Disneyland (photo courtesy of theme park insider)
Guests entering the original Haunted Mansion at Disneyland (photo courtesy of theme park insider)
  1. The original can be found in New Orleans Square at Disneyland (opened August 9, 1969)
  2. Haunted Mansion is one of the attractions which opened opening day at Walt Disney World on October 1, 1971
  3. Tokyo Disneyland added Haunted Mansion to it’s list of attractions on April 15, 1983
  4. Disneyland Paris was first to receive an attraction based on the Haunted Mansion with Phantom Manor which is a “re-imagined” version of the Haunted Mansion attraction.  It opened in Frontierland at Disneyland Paris on April 12, 1992
  5. Another “re-imagining” of Haunted Mansion came to Hong Kong Disneyland in the form of Mystic Manor.  This attraction opened at Mystic Point at Hong Kong Disneyland on May 17, 2013
photo courtesy of hooked on houses
photo courtesy of hooked on houses

Another interesting fact about the opening of The Haunted Mansion attractions is none of them opened on a Friday the 13th.

Thanks for reading this week’s Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia.

Rock Your Disney Side Information

Disney has finally released some information about 24 Hours Rock Your Disney Side event occurring this weekend.

Walt Disney World

  • The event kicks off at 6 am on May 23th with a special edition of the Welcome Show featuring heroes and villains making their way into the park
  • There will be three Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! parades.  The first parade will feature the Disney heroes at 10:00 am.  The villains take over the parade at 1:30 pm.  Voting will take place throughout the day to see whether heroes or villains will be features in the 5:45 pm parade.
  • The new Disney Festival of Fantasy parade will take place at 12:00 noon and 3:30 pm.  The Main Street Electrical Parade will have showings at 11:00 pm and 1:00 am on May 24.  The villains will take part in a pre-parade celebrating that “It’s Good to Bad.”  Celebrate the Magic will be at 8:45 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:45 pm.  There will be one showing of Wishes at 9:00 am.
  • At 11:00 pm, Princess Fairytale Hall will be taken over by Maleficent and the Queen from Snow White and be renamed Scary Tale Hall.  Anna and Elsa will be in the other half of the hall.
  • Around 1:45 am, other Disney villains will take over some the character greeting locations.  The most notable will be Jafar instead of Jasmine and Aladdin in Adventureland.  Dr. Facilier instead of Princess Tiana and Captain Hook takes the place of Peter Pan.
  • In Tomorrowland, the IncrediblesSuperDanceParty will rock Rockettower Plaza from 4:30 pm to 10:30 pm.  Starting at 11 pm, guests can view The Incredibles.
  • Late at night, Cinderella’s Castle will be “Up All Night” and Frontierland will host the Frontierland Dance Party from 2:00 am to 5:45 am.
  • The event comes to a close with a “Special Kiss Goodnight” at the Railroad Station in Main Street USA.

Continue reading Rock Your Disney Side Information

Character Meet and Greets

In continuing with the theme of the “basics” of a Walt Disney World vacation, today’s topic is Character Meet and Greets.  Disney has a lot of characters and a lot of visitors want to meet those characters.  In my opinion, Disney has developed three ways for guests to meet their favorite characters:

1) Character Meals: Table-service meals where Disney characters rotate through the dining hall for pictures with the guests.

2) Formal In-Park Meet and Greets: Pre-established areas, with set design, where guests can go and meet the characters.

3) Informal In-Park Meet and Greets: These are spontaneous or known areas where guest can go and meet the characters.

Each type of meet-and-greet has its own pluses and minuses.

Character Meals:

At Walt Disney World, there are plenty of opportunities to get a meal and autographs/pictures with your favorite characters.

In the four parks:

Animal Kingdom: Donald’s Dining Safari at Tusker House (breakfast and lunch only) – Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy

EPCOT: Chip N’ Dale’s Harvest Feast at Garden Grill (dinner only) – Chip N’ Dale, Pluto, Mickey

Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Banquet Hall (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) – Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, Ariel, Mary Poppins

Note about this meal: All characters listed are not guaranteed to appear at your meal.  They rotate based on the day and meal.

Guests also receive a professional photo package which includes: 4 prints (4″x6″) and 1 6″x8″ print with one of the princesses.  The package is delivered to the table during the meal.

Hollywood Studios: Disney’s Play N’ Dine at Hollywood and Vine (breakfast and lunch only) – Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Handy Mandy, Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Magic Kingdom: A Buffet with Character at The Crystal Palace (breakfast, lunch and dinner) – Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger

Fairytale Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) – Cinderella, Ariel, Aurora, Snow White; The Fairy Godmother appears at dinner.  This is a TWO table-credit dining experience.

Guests also receive a professional photo package which includes: 4 prints (4″x6″), 1 6″x8″ print, 1 6″x8″ print of Cinderella’s Castle, and a Cinderella Themed Photo Folder

Children (ages 3-9) also receive a special gift: a princess wand for girls and prince’s sword for boys

Meals at the Resorts:

Contemporary Resort: Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Buffet at Chef Mickey’s (breakfast and dinner only) – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto

Grand Floridan Resort and Spa: Supercalifragilistic Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare (breakfast only) – Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, and The Mad Hatter

Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare (dinner only) – Cinderella and Prince Charming, The Fairy Godmother, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella,  Some characters may only be seen in the lobby for pictures.

Polynesian Resort: ‘Ohana’s Best Friends Breakfast featuring Lilo and Stitch (breakfast only) – Lilo and Stitch.  Often Mickey Mouse and Pluto appear but are not guaranteed.

Yacht and Beach Club Resort: Beach Club Breakfast Buffet at Cape May Cafe (breakfast only) – Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy

 

My family has gone to every character meal on this list except the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast at 1900 Park Fare.  We love going to character meals.  It has many advantages.   First, a guest can meet a lot of characters in a short period of time since most of the meals take about 60 to 90 minutes.  Second, a guest can see the characters in “non-traditional” attire.  For example, Mickey Mouse is dressed as Farmer Mickey at Garden Grill, Safari Mickey at Tusker House and Chef Mickey at Chef Mickey’s.  Third, it gives the guest a chance to relax, sit down in an air-conditioned environment while the characters come to them as opposed to the other way around.

The major drawback to the character meals, guests are taking away time in the parks to spend time at a meal.  Another drawback is if a guest is not on the Disney Dining Plan, these meals can be a bit pricey.  Most of them are buffets and not true sit down meals.

That being said, you can get some great pictures and some quality character interaction.

My daughter at Chef Mickey's with Minnie Mouse
My daughter at Chef Mickey’s with Minnie Mouse
And with Donald Duck at Chef Mickey's
And with Donald Duck at Chef Mickey’s
Daughter with Cinderella at 1900 Park Fare
Daughter with Cinderella at 1900 Park Fare

Sometimes if you get seated at the right place, you can get some good panoramic pictures of the resort.

View from our table at Chef Mickey's
View from our table at Chef Mickey’s

Formal In-Park Meet and Greets:

This group of meet and greets is set only in the parks.  When Disney, first opened, almost all the meet and greets were informal.  If you saw a character walking through the resort, you could stop and take pictures.  As more and more people wanted to meet the characters, Disney made the meet and greet more formalized.  They set up permanent locations where people can go and meet the characters.  There are many locations where guests can do this.  Another way to determine if a meet and greet is formal or informal is to ask this question: Is there a wait time listed for the meet and greet?  If the answer is yes, then it’s a formal meet and greet.

Animal Kingdom: Currently there are no formal meet and greets anymore.  Disney is in the process of creating Avatar Land which is scheduled to open in 2017.  In the process of creating this land, they had to eliminate the Camp Minnie-Mickey.  Camp Minnie-Mickey was a place was guests could meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and a rotating set of characters.  There were also informal meet and greets that would spring up when the lines for the other characters go too long.  My daughter got the chance to meet Thumper and Miss Bunny at one of the informal meet and greets.

EPCOT: The EPCOT Character Spot – Mickey, Pluto, and Minnie Mouse

EPCOT is also the best place for informal in-park meet and greets.

Hollywood Studios: Hollywood Studios doesn’t have a meet and greets which meet the “wait time listed” criteria.  However, they do have four meet and greets where guests can meet characters in a formal setting with themed backdrops:

Outside of Disney Junior Live – Disney Junior Characters on a rotating basis

Phineas and Ferb Meet and Greet outside of Muppetvision

Monsters University in Pixar Place

The Animation Courtyard – Typically Sorcerer Mickey, Winnie the Pooh, and characters from non-princess Movies

Magic Kingdom: Magic Kingdom has the most formal character meet and greets.

Ariel’s Grotto – Ariel as a mermaid

Pete’s Silly Sideshow (2 queues) – Donald Duck and Goofy in one queue; Daisy Duck and Minnie Mouse in the other.

Princess Hall (2 queues) – Cinderella and Rapunzel  in one queue; Anna and Elsa from the movie Frozen in the other.

Note: the wait times for Anna and Elsa can approach the four hour range.  As I’m writing, the listed expected wait time is 300 minutes (5 hours).  Two tips: either get in line right away or use a Fastpass+ experience for this.  The Fastpass+ should cut the wait time down to “only” 30 minutes.

Tinker Bell’s Nook – Tinker Bell and the other Disney Fairies

Town Square Mickey – Magician Mickey Mouse

These meet and greets are a good way to meet characters but have the drawback of potentially long wait times to meet one, maybe, two characters and waiting, for a portion of the time, outside.  Still the pictures can be good:

The family with Phineas and Ferb
The family with Phineas and Ferb

 

My daughter with Mike and Sulley from Monsters University
My daughter with Mike and Sulley from Monsters University
My daughter meeting Sorcerer Mickey in the Animation Studio.
My daughter meeting Sorcerer Mickey in the Animation Studio.

Informal In-Park Meet and Greets:

These meet and greets vary in location and/or time of day.  There is no set schedule when this type of meet and greet takes place.  The best thing to do is to ask a Cast Member or Guest Relations when a guest arrives at the park.  Some of the same meet and greets take place every day (for example: Princesses like Snow White and Mulan in EPCOT have a set schedule) , however, not all of them do which is why it is best to ask upon arrival.  This is also a good chance to see rarely seen characters.  Typically, the lines for this type of meet and greet is shorter than the formal meet and greet given there is no set schedule.

Meeting Minnie Mouse at EPCOT
Meeting Minnie Mouse at EPCOT

This is a rarity – meeting one of the “Big Five” characters at an informal meet and greet.  My daughter and I were walking through EPCOT during the Food and Wine Festival, last year, as I was taking her picture in front of every booth and Minnie came walking out.  We, immediately, stopped her for a picture before a line could form.  She came out with this guy:

My daughter with King Louie from Jungle Book
My daughter with King Louie from Jungle Book

As we continued to walk through the World Showcase, we passed into China and Mulan was out for pictures and autographs.  This was the first time we had seen Mulan in our travels.  As a result, she was one of the few princesses that daughter didn’t have her picture taken with.  So, we stopped for a picture.

My daughter with Mulan in the China Pavilion.
My daughter with Mulan in the China Pavilion.

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