Fantasy Faire – A Dad’s Eye View

Good day to you all, fellow DisNerds! Ready for some princesses? Would you like a Boysen-Apple Freeze and a show to go with them?

Fantasy Faire, the new expansion of Fantasyland at Disneyland that takes over Carnation Gardens, opens March 12th. Living out of state, I’m not able to be at the parks whenever a new area opens up. Fortunately, on my last trip to the Happiest Place on Earth, I was able to preview the area with my family. I know there are lots of pictures floating around at this point. However, I wanted to share from my perspective: a parent, seeing it through the eyes of his little girl.

We went in to this trip with her truly believing she wouldn’t be able to see the Faire until our next trip, as we were just a little too early. When we met our friend from Disney Park Secrets, he hinted at it to her:

Austen: “See that area over there? What do you know about it?”

Caitlin: “It’s the Fantasy Faire. We won’t be able to go till next trip.”

Austen: “I don’t know, I see people in there…”

Caitlin: “No, that’s just workers, it’s not ready yet.”

That was followed by this little exchange once he told her he we were sneak previewing it:


From that point of disbelief on, all she could keep saying was, “Best..Surprise…EVER!!!” And well, seeing her eyes light up at everything from the shows to the scenery to the meet and greets…I couldn’t disagree. As follows, here are some of the pictures I took with my cell phone (Please forgive the fuzziness in a few) with observations of the area.


The village itself has some great detail. It definitely has a wonderful Fantasyland feel. Imagineers should be proud!


The first thing we did as we arrived was head over to the Royal Theatre, where the Tangled performance was about to begin. Now, for any parent who has visited the old Princess Fantasy Faire and seen a coronation ceremony or storytelling time, you understand the idea that I wasn’t going in with high expectations. I mean, the presentations were cute for kids, and it’s fun to watch the little ones dance, but that’s about it. So to say the shows here exceeded my expectations was an understatement.


The shows, told by “Mr. Jones and Mr. Smythe” with help from the lead characters, are extremely entertaining. Told with humor and music, I heard as many adults laughing as children. If you don’t have children to take for the meet and greet area, still make time to see the shows here. You won’t regret it.


Afterward, we got to meet Rapunzel and Flynn! Charming as always, this was a plus for the children in attendance.


Yeah…. he’s got smoulder.


After the show was over, Mr. Smythe or Mr. Jones would take turns for fun in the Square. Here, he plays “Lost and Found” with the help of the village maidens, asking my little one if she recognizes a certain shoe:



Great to see these kinds of interactions – boys and girls alike were getting into it!


After this little impromptu gathering, we headed toward the Royal Hall (the meet and greet area). The princesses in attendance that day were Cinderella, Ariel and Aurora (this may be par for the course, as Snow White is set to make appearances by her wishing well and other princesses in their appropriately themed lands).

Although I’ve included only one picture of the area, you can see just how intricate and elegant the meeting area is!


Upon exiting, it’s time to leave, right?


The next Tangled show was starting, which gave us the perfect opportunity to check out the details in the rest of the area and maybe have a snack from Maurice’s. Before we headed to his cart, however, we stopped to check out this fun little feature:


Clopin’s Music Box is a fun little interactive element where visitors turn the wheel to set things into motion, with music and moving features.


Make sure you look closely at all of the characters in the far background – see how many Disney characters you can spot!


Remember to click on the link for a bigger picture to see better!


Another nice touch that we all loved was Figaro, who sleeps high up on a ledge…


Everything was nice and peaceful….


Until his little feathered friend wakes him up.


“Are you tweetin’ at me?”


Time for a snack! Maurice’s sells a few different twists, including cheddar garlic, strawberry, and chocolate. But the real highlight here is the Boysen-Apple (Get it? POISON Apple?) Freeze. Quite sweet and refreshing on a warm day, this is bound to be a hit!


It’s a great drink for kids and adults alike, and those in my party preferred this over Red’s Apple Freeze from the Cozy Cones in Cars Land.


We were able to come back later to catch the Beauty and the Beast Show in the Royal Theatre. Once again, it was very entertaining for audiences of all ages and included a meet and greet with Belle afterward.


My princess with the Disney variety – they have the same tailor!


As all good things must come to an end, so did our time in the new Fantasy Faire. However, it’s safe to say, we’ll be back. This area will remain popular for a long time for families and many grown ups as well. Perhaps I’m skewed as a parent who got to see the joy on his daughter’s face, but I have a hard time finding flaw with any aspect of this area. From the shows to interactions, food to detail, Disney once again has another area to be truly proud of.

One last shot to share… as I went to attempt a picture of Rapunzel’s tower with Sleeping Beauty Castle in the background, a friend stopped by in the clouds to say hello….


See ya real soon, Fantasy Faire!


That’s it for now, folks! A special thanks to Austen over at Disney Park Secrets for making this day possible for a friend and his family!

Disneyland Prep – Counting Down

If you haven’t noticed by now, my family’s a little nuts about Disneyland. Aside from the trip itself, one of our favorite times is the time when it starts getting close enough to have “countdown” activities.


4…3…2…1….. Blastoff!!!


In the past, we’ve done advent type calendars where the kiddo can put stickers on each day as we creep closer. We’ve had Disney-themed meals from an alfredo pasta resemblingĀ  the Countdown Chicken Fusili from Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port to freshly popped popcorn served in Disney souvenir bucket. We play games – the latest being a yard sale find of “The Magic Kingdom” board game. We watch Youtube videos of rides. We listen to music – the “Musical History of Disneyland” 6 CD set is practically memorized around our house!

And of course, there are movies. Videos that range from classic Disney films and shorts to old Disneyland television specials to home movies. After the little one goes to bed, my wife and I may put in something that wouldn’t hold the little girl’s interest, like a documentary or opening day coverage (I know what you’re thinking, but our daughter is four – I’m sure she’ll appreciate it someday!).

As our next vacation is rapidly approaching, I thought over the upcoming days, I’d share Disney related activities we’ve done here on the blog. Whether it be music that catches my ear and inspires me to write about it, movies that I watch that inspire thoughts, or activities that inspire a story I think you might enjoy, I’ll share it here.

I hope you enjoy and have fun reading – if signal permits, maybe I’ll even be able to share pictures from the park once I’m there!

Until then, I ask you, fellow readers: Do you do anything special to countdown the days until your Disney trip? If so, I’d love to hear what you do in the comments below!

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge – Day 14

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day 14: Your Favorite Place To Eat In the Park

This one is harsh – especially for a Disney foodie. There are few places I don’t like to eat in the park. I’m a fan of Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port and their shareable Count Down Chicken Fusili. The Monte Cristos in the Blue Bayou and Cafe Orleans – artery clogging goodness, along with the overall atmosphere of both spots. Village Haus in Fantasyland? Love the decor and the yodeling music that goes along with it! Skewers at the Bengal Barbecue? Yes, please! Jolly Holiday bakery? Practically perfect in every way! Corn dogs from the Little Red Wagon? Don’t mind if I do! If you were to ask my daughter, any place that sells a kids’ power pack is at the top of her list. Until someone offers to get me into Club 33, that one won’t even be an option.

So many decisions, but if I had to narrow down to one (and for the sake of this post I must)….


It’s Just Plain….Beautiful.


It only makes sense that my favorite dining spot in The Land would be in my favorite land. There’s an elegance to the place that’s quaint – not over the top or cheesy – but a true elegance. On winter nights, sitting outside beneath a space heater, watching snow fall on the hub… it’s beautiful. And of course, there’s the food. Now I’ve never had a character breakfast, so I can’t attest to that meal, but the fried chicken is superb. Many evenings the scent wafts into Tomorrowland answering the question of “Where shall we eat?” to passers by. While the prices are slightly higher (of course it IS Disneyland), the food is very shareable; in fact, I’ll be the first to admit I couldn’t finish a dish on my own!

Where’s your favorite place to eat? Is it because of the food, the atmosphere, or both? I love hearing from all of you!



The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge – Day 5

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day 5: Your Favorite Snack

Oh, Disneyland. What a dream you are for foodies. Almost anywhere in the park, you can follow your nose to something. From the lovely scents pouring out of the Candy Palace on Main Street, to the buttery aroma of fresh popped popcorn, followed by the cinnamon & sugar mixture that is a churro, there are no shortage of quick bites and snack foods in Disneyland. The Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor is a favorite, with the specialty sundaes that our family of three often shares. No trip is complete without a souvenir bucket of popcorn for the ride home. At some point, you can be guaranteed we’ll be stopping at a cart for a Mickey shaped ice cream bar or frozen banana. The bigger question as far as snacks are concerned is:

What snack don’t I like at Disneyland???

Nope. Can’t think of one. So we’ll just go with my favorite of them all:


Pineapple Goodness!

Whether you choose to have it as a float (with pineapple juce), or just by itself, Dole Whip – that heavenly frozen concoction sold at the stand that has longer lines than many rides – just cannot be beat. The tangy/sweet flavor of a mix of pineapple and soft serve has served as a delicious cool down on many a warm day for many people. I realize it’s not popular for everyone, and to those people, I want to say one thing:

Thank you for making the line a few people shorter.

Dole whips have taken on almost a cult following, with people looking for copycat recipes and locations away from the parks that serve it. I have yet to find a location where I live, and have not tried to make my own, but I pay tribute in a different way:


Now I take Dole Whip with me (in spirit) wherever I go, thanks to the awesome designs of Richard Terpstra!

Yes, it’s the only time I’ve paid homage to food with a t-shirt, but being a DisNerd, it only seems natural…. and I haven’t saved up to buy the churro t-shirt yet.

How to Play to DisNerds

My wife and I, along with other people we know, are fans of ABC’s new show, “Once Upon a Time.” Aside from just being plain intriguing with its warped fairy tale characters and alter egos, it’s a product of Disney synergy at its finest. The Dwarves are named after their Disney counterparts, Snow White has been known to hum “With a Smile and a Song,” and Belle looks awfully familiar in her gold dress. Then there’s the case of the “antique” in one of the cases of Mr. Gold’s antique shop:

That push button Mickey phone must be a pretty magical antique – why else would he have it locked up?

Watching the show to see what special touches like that may be thrown in next is definitely a highlight for me. Of course, being on ABC, a Disney owned company, the show writers can throw Disney-esque references in there and get away with it.

Of course there are other references out there, not necessarily in a television show, not necessarily linked directly to Disney, but references that, being a geek for all things Disney, I eat right up.

For example, foods that remind me of Disney catch my eye, and sometimes taste buds as well. I can’t resist the scent of churros. While not a Disney specific product, boy do they ever remind me of a certain theme park in Anaheim. Taking a bite, for a few brief moments I can almost see myself standing by the churro cart at the end of Main Street, USA, and I think the people that sell churros outside of the parks know this. I’m a sucker for cinnamon, sugar and Disney.

If I need Orange Juice, what kind do I enjoy the most?

Oh Donald, I’m so glad you can be a part of my balanced breakfast!

Then there are those products that aren’t aimed at Disney fans at all; nonetheless, they hit the mark. A few years back, Avon sold a cologne for men called “RPM.” It was described as a fresh, citrus, and slightly woodsy smell. So naturally, what did it remind meĀ  of? Soarin’ Over California. Of course, I bought it because I’m a sucker for scents of Disney. I once spent an hour at a nickel poker machine at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas just because the fountain I was sitting next to reminded me of the smell of the water in Pirates of the Caribbean. I’m convinced a former Imagineer designed that fountain just to ensnare DisNerds like me.

Apparently it doesn’t take much to get my attention with a mention, tie-in or even scent that brings about a Disney feeling or memory. The latest product to come my way and evoke those feelings?

Look, they even have a Skyway!

There are so many other examples I can’t even think of at the moment, but sometimes even I look at myself and think, “How crazy am I to let myself be so influenced by Disney?” Yet, tis the life I lead… the life of a DisNerd.

And for some odd reason, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a perfumist out there trying to concoct “Eau de Pirate Water.”