You’ve Got A “New” Friend In Me

Hey-there, Hi-there, Ho-there, DisNerds!

I cannot even begin to tell you how ecstatic I am to be featured here on this wonderful blog. English words fail to describe just how excited I am to see where this all goes. (Luckily we all love a world whose ridiculously imaginatory lexicon is only rivaled by Dr. Seuss, so I believe I can find some word to describe my feelings. Tigger-ific? Supercalifragilistexpealidocious? Point being: Disney is awesome and I’m infinitely-and-beyond happy to be on-board with this blog.)

So, I’m certain I’ll have the opportunity to explain more of my Disney-love (how I came to love it, how I live it, etc.) but I’ll just take this paragraph to at least introduce myself this much: I am Mouseketeer Hayden (“Hi, Hayden…”) I am 21 years old, and I’ve been a Disney geek for 10+ years now. (The first 11 or so was all training, mind you.) It’s interesting to see the variety of Disney geeks you stumble upon… Some can stump me on every single Mickey Mouse related trivia question we’d be asked, others seem to know an uncomfortable amount of information about Annette Funicello. Myself? Gosh, you’ll be hearing a lot from me about Disneyland, Disney Imagineering, Disney Animation, and the man Disney himself.

Craig spoke briefly of my life’s most recent grand adventure as he introduced me. In short, I returned this May from Seattle, Washington where I served as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ll spare you two years worth of stories (though I’d be happy to share with any who’d like to hear them via private conversations) and explain this much: I served this mission knowing full well that I’d be away from family and friends for two years, my only contact with them being occasional letters and weekly e-mails (and I was allotted only an hour’s worth of e-mailing, mind you). I understood that I’d be asked to forsake all forms of “worldly” entertainment, including, but not limited to: movies, music (excluding sacred hymns, of course), radio, iPods, iPhones, computers, newspapers, television, etc. I knew that I wouldn’t have any “vacation” time; certainly no time to even think about Disneyland, let alone go to Disneyland. Such is the life of a Mormon missionary!

From Mouseketeer to Missionary: Setting aside mouse ears for a clean-cut 'do, a pin lanyard for a necktie.

From Mouseketeer to Missionary: Setting aside mouse ears for a clean-cut ‘do, a pin lanyard for a necktie.

May 11th, 2013, I was reunited with my family. It was a wonderful moment. I can’t even begin to describe the emotion(s) of it all. Suffice it to say, I was with who I loved most. But I wasn’t “where” we needed to be quite yet.

May 28, 2013, I came “home”. Tears welled up in my eyes seeing the crest of the Matterhorn rise as we drove down the I-5. My heart was racing driving down Katella. There it was, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Disneyland was still there. Finally, my family was reunited with the place we loved most. They had gone a handful of times during my mission, but lamented the fact that the group was always an un-even 5. (I like to think they actually missed me, but I think they were more upset at the fact that 5 always meant someone was riding solo, missing the fact that 6 in a party leant itself to easier seating configurations… I jest.)

I felt absolutely spoiled; for the next 5 days I felt like Disneyland was putting on its best show just for me. The rides went smoother, the cast members were happier, the paint was fresher… I felt like it’d missed me, and that it was mighty happy to see me back. Thank goodness, too. I entertained the thought that perhaps I wasn’t as ready for Disneyland as perhaps I needed to be.

It was interesting to see the things that changed, yes, from major installments to minor details. Some sails and other various fabrics in Pirates of the Caribbean had been changed out. Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye certainly had its share of enhancements.  California Adventure… I don’t think anything was the same there! A new entrance, Buena Vista Street, Cars Land, trolleys, shows, stores… What an experience that was, seeing for the first time! A water feature here had been repainted, a merchandise rack had been shifted there… But I was still walkin’ right down the middle of the same Main Street USA. I was still being followed home by the same pestering hitch-hiking ghosts. It’s just as small a world now as it was when those 2 years ago. Which was all sorts of wonderful. I found I needed to be at Disneyland for more reasons than to just satisfy a Disney geek’s cravings and yearnings. I needed to be there to remind myself of where I had come from, who I was, and where I’ve wanted to be going. It was here I felt a figurative “last piece of the puzzle” fall into place, solidifying all of the life lessons I had learned through my missionary service into my heart. I was I sure picked an eventful two years to take a hiatus from, I’ll tell you what! It was wonderful to feel that my two years away from the magic didn’t deplete me in anyway. It has very much so been a compounding experience; each passing moment finds me all the more prepared for the next. I was just as ready for Disneyland as I had ever been.

Friends at first, and friends at last. Disney hasn't stopped providing magical moments, and I certainly haven't stopped enjoying them!

Friends at first, and friends at last. Disney hasn’t stopped providing magical moments, and I certainly haven’t stopped enjoying them!

Now granted, that’s a very sappy and sentimental look at things. Perhaps another entry later I can provide a greater (and more factual) trip report. I’ll say this much:

Car’s Land? I watch a Youtube video of Radiator Springs Racers every day to remind myself that it was actually real. From Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree down the road to the Cadillac Range, it was nothing but extraordinarily delightful.

Buena Vista Street was far greater than I could have ever anticipated. I first saw it at nighttime, and I immediately fell in love. It provides such an incredibly immersive experience. It had me in awe the minute I scanned my pass and stepped in.

Ariel’s Undersea Adventure can be summed up in this question: Where can I get one of them Ursula audio-animatronics for my home? (I LOVE IT. I NEED IT.)

There are so many more stories to share, and yet today there is so little time. I hope you enjoyed this, and if anything I hope you take this from it all: I friggin’ missed Disneyland, I’m excited to be back, and I can’t wait to go again. And, if I might add… I am happy to be here, contributing to this blog! Have a Disney Day, folks!

Lock Me In The Vault

Remember waking up to this?

As a child of the 80s, The Disney Channel was a huge deal. As a premiere channel, it was THE channel to have added to your basic cable subscription. Unfortunately, not being able to afford to do so, glimpses of its greatness were few and far between. Still, whenever we would see the words “free preview” in our TV Guide, my heart would leap, and I’d be looking for blank VHS tapes to record as much as I could during those rare times of broadcast. In the three or four days of preview, before the screen became a distorted mess where you could almost make out Mickey’s famous silhouette, the channel was very rarely changed when I had the opportunity to plant myself in front of the TV. Waking up to “Good Morning, Mickey!” and a blood pumping “Mousercise?” That was the way to go. Classic Disney shows in the evening? Just as good. When the sneak peek was over, I’d occasionally flip back to channel 2 (yes, I still remember the channel) to see if by any chance this was the magical time the cable company forgot to switch it back over. Sadly, this never happened.

Yet, those times of watching the programming Disney had to offer, as limited as it might be, had an effect on me. I soaked it up. I memorized the song to “Good Morning, Mickey.” I caught my first glimpse of the original “Mickey Mouse Club.” I saw old episodes of “Walt Disney Presents.” I wanted my DTV.

And I Still Want It.

And I Still Want It.

Years went by, and the memories stayed. The Disney Channel went public. Many of the shows I remembered were long gone. But there was one aspect of the channel that continued to appeal to me: Vault Disney. Say these words to a child of the classic Disney Channel era, even to their parents and you’ll elicit a smile, and perhaps a sigh of longing. Vault Disney was a blessing for insomniacs, a late night programming block of Disney heaven for nostalgia loving enthusiasts. From episodes of “Zorro,” “Swamp Fox,” and even DTV segments, to reruns of “The Wonderful World Of Color” and “Walt Disney Presents,” viewers were treated to glimpses of the history of the Walt Disney Company.  Younger viewers such as myself were seeing these shows for the first time. Baby boomers were reliving fond memories of the past. My mom and I didn’t watch much TV together, but we both sat through a Spin and Marty marathon. I first saw the entire opening day broadcast from Disneyland this way. I laughed and smiled through “Disneyland Showtime,” the very dated, but fascinating, program where Donny Osmond got lost at Disneyland, leaving it up to his brothers and Kurt Russel to track him down before their scheduled performance.

Not to mention, seeing behind the scenes footage of the newest attraction was pretty cool, too.

Although I can’t remember the exact year, I do remember when Vault Disney signed off for the last time. I wasn’t aware what was happening until a few days before. All I really knew for sure is there was some awesome Vault Disney programming going on in those final days. So once again, for one last time, I scrounged up blank VHS tapes, set the VCR timer to record 6 hours worth of vault programming in the wee hours of the morning in order to enjoy what I could of what was left. No disrespect meant to the new Disney Channel show reruns that would be taking their place, but at this point in my life, it would be the Disneyland anniversary specials and “Wonderful World” shows that were holding a place in my heart.

Now, as a parent, I see the place new shows on the Disney Channel, namely Disney Junior, are taking in my little girl’s life. While I’m grateful for the new memories from these shows, I wish there was a way to share my memories with her as well. Sure, there are some I am able to share via You Tube, and thanks to the beauty of the Walt Disney Treasures DVDs, we have history lessons as well.

Her favorite older show is the one with the “dancing cake” (Disneyland’s 10th Anniversary).

However, it still feels lacking compared to the vast amount of Disney history that was once available. Dear Disney, please consider this blog post as my open letter to you. The same generation that grew up with the original Disney Channel now has children of its own. In addition to providing programming they will remember in their adult years, we sorely lack in being able to share our memories with them. How amazing it would be, through one of your current channels or a new channel, to offer a block of Vault Disney programming again? Imagine the limitless field, from kids’ programming such as “Good Morning Mickey” and “Welcome to Pooh Corner,” along with three different eras of “The Mickey Mouse Club,” to classic Disney programming such as “Zorro” and “Walt Disney Presents.” I truly believe there is a limited offering for genuine family programming; this could fill that void.

I realize there are a lot of things I don’t fully grasp, from licensing to key demographics; but I can’t be alone in my desire to revisit some amazing company history. Dear reader, do you feel the same? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Feel free to share this, write your own open letters. I’d love to see multiple generations of voices be heard in regards to the currently untapped history of the Disney company.

As long as so many of these wonderful memories remain locked up in the vault, I feel that part of me is locked up in the vault as well.

Now Introducing!

Greetings and salutations, fellow DisNerds!

For a while now, I’ve been teasing on the Confessions Facebook Page about some upcoming changes being made to the site. I started a couple weeks back with a new background on the blog; a minor change, but something that definitely reflects my inner Disney geek.

Today, I’m excited to be announcing another change to confessions, this one being quite a bit bigger. From the start of Confessions, one thing that was always important to me was community. If it wasn’t for my fellow Disney fans, there would be no reason to share these stories, thoughts and pictures. As much as I love writing, I thrive on reading responses from readers and hearing their stories and love of Disney as well. With that being said, I felt the desire to share more stories with you all, even if they weren’t all from me.  Therefore, I am proud to announce a new addition to Confessions of a DisNerd.

Can't think of a better day to introduce someone than on Tuesday - Guest Star Day!

Can’t think of a better day to introduce someone than on Tuesday – Guest Star Day!

My dear friend Hayden will be joining this blog in the upcoming days as a fellow contributor, eager to share his thoughts and tales on the love of all things Disney. As long as I have known Hayden, his enthusiasm for the Disney company, from its rich animation and film history to theme parks is nothing short of contagious. Through many conversations with him, I have found a friend and confidant that not only understands what it means to be a DisNerd, but is definitely one himself.

Hayden has just returned from a two year mission, during which time, he didn’t have much outside contact with the world of Disney. How interesting it was to hear his impressions of the new Disney California Adventure as well as other changes that happened in both California theme parks, as well as movies that he is watching for the first time – two years is quite a bit of time in the vastly expanding universe of Disney! I can’t wait to see his perspectives on this, as well as other goings on within Disney in the upcoming days, weeks and months.

Oh! And he's also a very talented artist, as he was the one who dis this piece, discussed in my "Still Living In Neverland" entry.

Oh! And he’s also a very talented artist, as he was the one who did this piece, discussed in my “Still Living In Neverland” entry.

This is just one part of some exciting things coming up within the world of Confessions of a DisNerd (look for new features in the upcoming weeks!), but definitely one of the things I’m most excited about. So without further ado, let’s give a warm welcome to Hayden! We can’t wait to hear of your adventures and stories!

Entering a Guilty Plea(sure)

As the father of a five year old, shows on Disney Jr are a mainstay in our house. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? Meeska, mooska, mouske-check. Handy Manny? Si, yes. Sofia the First? We’re finding out what being royal’s all about. Jake and the Never Land Pirates? Yo Ho, let’s go! I’m sure we’re in the same boat with many other parents who find themselves watching these shows quite a bit more than they’d care to admit. Generally, we’re okay with this fact; the shows on Disney Junior teach great life lessons and application skills – even if you think you don’t really need to lay out three simple steps to take a drink from the drinking fountain, lessons (and values) are being learned. But as an adult, you do find yourself longing for a break from these shows. Sometimes, even a regular old Disney movie is enough to take a break from the kiddie set. Possibly you find yourself driving in the car by yourself, coming to the grim realization that you’re just so used to the music that you forgot the fact that the CD really does eject from the stereo. Yes, my wife and I are in that boat as well. But, here’s the thing; my confession if you will…

I think my wife and I are even bigger fans of Sharkey and Bones than my daughter. We discovered this when I bought the CD, only to have my daughter ask to turn it down as daddy and mommy were bobbing our heads in the front seat….

If you’re a parent of a youngster, you’ll know who I’m talking about. If not, you may be asking, “Who?” Sharkey and Bones (Loren Hoskins and Kevin Hendrickson) are the pirate rock duo responsible for little ditties at the end of every Jake and the Never Land Pirates episode. Over the top silly, yet infectious, this duo has earned a place on my Disney playlist with catchy songs like, “Aw, Coconuts,” “Bubbly Blue,” “Pirate Password,” and this one:

 

 

I’d call it a guilty pleasure, but at the same time, I’m not ashamed.  I plead guilty all the way – as I do with other Disney pieces that may be considered “less popular.”

In a conversation with a fellow Disney fan (Adam, author of the wonderful California blog San Magnifico) , we both came to the realization that we are fans of “Pete’s Dragon,” and not afraid to admit it.  Although it’s not quite the critical darling that other films from the Disney spectrum are, it still holds a spot very near and dear to some. For me, I have fond memories of reading along with my “See, Hear, Read” records and listening to snippets of “I Think I Saw a Dragon” over and over again. As a grown up, I still get the biggest kick out of watching Jim Dale and Red Buttons scheme their way through Passamashloddy.

 

“Watch the Profits Come Rolling In!!!!”

 

As well, I know many people who will tell you that the musical film “The Happiest Millionaire” isn’t worth your time. I, however, am not one of those people. In fact, the soundtrack for this film is toward the top of my list. The Sherman Brothers had a masterpiece on their hands with this one (at least in my opinion). From the silliness of “By-um-pum-pum,” to the incredible cheesiness of “Detroit” (maybe this one works for me as a Lions fan?), and the rousing “Let’s Have a Drink On It” number, there’s not a sour spot in the movie. Every time Tommy Steele is on the screen, the movie is even more fun.

 

I mean, anyone who babysits alligators has earned my respect!

 

I know I speak of the “Magic of Disney” an awful lot, but to me there is magic in the fact that some things, while not looked upon as great by many – be it kiddie show pirate rock duos, lower rated movies or less than popular theme park attractions – can still mean so much to some who gladly make their feelings known. And in that moment, we find others who feel the same way, and we don’t feel alone in our fandom.

What about you, fellow DisNerds? Do you have any “not so guilty” Disney pleasures that set you apart from others? Feel free to share here!

It Always Comes Back to Disney (Or, However Many Degrees Of Disney Separation)….

I have a music recommendation for you all today – I’ve provided the link to Amazon, where it can be bought digitally. It’s a great collection of Disney music, all instrumental. Very peaceful, well done, great background music. I love stuff like this. The album name: Gävle SymfoniorkesterEn Helt Ny Värld.

Or, A Whole New World by the Gavle Symphony Orchestra for those of you who can’t read Swedish.

If you’re finding yourself wondering if I’ve taken DisNerd to a whole new level, searching for foreign and obscure orchestra covers of Disney songs… Well, sorry to say, the answer is no. At least not this time. In fact, this discovery had nothing to do with Disney at first. But it always seems to come back to Disney for me. I can’t escape it, but why would I want to?

Believe it or not, I’m not all Disney, all the time. Especially when it comes to musical taste – they go all over the board. This morning the theme was folk music. So as I was creating a playlist on Spotify titled “Folkish,” I decided there was a song that had to be included along with The Kingston Trio and Phil Ochs. Only problem was… I wasn’t sure of the exact title or who sang it.

All I knew for sure were the lyrics:

“All day, all night, Marianne…down by the seaside sifting sand.

Even little children love Marianne…down by the seaside sifting sand.”

Well, this prompted me to search. Was it called Marianne? Mary Ann? All Day, All Night? Best way to find out was to search the lovely world of Google, upon which I learned the song, “Marianne” was made famous by Terry Gilkyson. Armed with this knowledge, I go back onto Spotify and type in Terry Gilkyson. Yes, “Marianne” was one of the results, but what came first? En Helt Ny Värld, which, after listening, deterred me from my search for Marianne and her sifting sand.

But now, I was curious. What was the connection between this album of Disney songs and Gilkyson that led me back to Disney? A little more research would clear that up: according to his bio at allmusic.com, Gilkyson was also the Academy Award nominated composer of a song called “The Bare Necessities.”  Ever hear of it? Of course you have. And the Bare Necessities was one of the tracks on En Helt Ny Varld.

While this may serve as just an interesting bit of trivia to most, I wanted to share this as there really is a “Six Degrees of Separation” aspect to Disney that just constantly amazes me. It leads me to find new things, to smile at the way Disney connects even unintentionally. This is how my mind works; what makes me the DisNerd that I am. All because of a song that I at first thought had nothing to do with Disney…


Farewell to a Pineapple Princess

This picture of Annette and Jimmie Dodd was on the back of an LP that I played consistently as a kid. Back then, all I knew was that she was one of the Mousketeers.

There’s not much I can say about the passing of Annette Funicello that hasn’t been said by others. From the grown men that admit she was their first crush to the women who were inspired by her dancing on the Mickey Mouse Club, she touched many. All I can add is, I, along with many others, am saddened by her passing, but rejoicing in the fact that she is no longer struggling with the multiple sclerosis that she bravely battled for so many years.

In our house, the song “Pineapple Princess” (written by the Sherman Brothers) is on our “Disneyfied” playlist and comes up quite frequently. It’s a song that you just can’t help but sing along with and dance around the house to – and my wife and daughter do the same. I’m grateful for fun songs like this, with the “Annette sound,” and the fact that it is enjoyed still today is a testament to both the singer and the songwriters.

I pray she is singing and dancing along again today.

Rest in peace, Annette.

The Internet and Disney – Is the Joke On Us?

May 22, 2019: I wrote this piece over 6 years ago. However, any time I see a change within the Disney company, or fandom reactions of almost anything, I’m constantly reminded of this article. With Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge due to open very shortly, I decided not only to revisit the piece, but to also update with new thoughts. I hope you enjoy!

I’m not a big fan of practical jokes that come in the form of fake ads and misleading articles. I’m not talking about stories on sites such as The Onion, which are known for such over-the-top satire. I’m talking about the type of articles that are usually released on or around April Fool’s day, or as it has come to be known, “Don’t Believe the Internet Day.”  While I find many of them amusing (who doesn’t like to see how many ways companies can wrap bacon into their products?), I feel many of the “news” articles written can be misleading. For that reason, I don’t take much stock in articles I see posted on that day.

However, I do appreciate the idea of a good joke as much as the next person, and judging by the amount of sharing of false ads and whatnot, I know I’m not alone. This led me to really think about the internet, the sharing of news, ads, pictures, and, of course, gossip. And sometimes, if you will pardon the cynicism, I wonder if the internet in some ways isn’t just one big joke we’re playing on ourselves.

Okay, I'm not suggesting we do away with the internet.. but please, read on....

Okay, I’m not suggesting we do away with the internet.. but please, read on….

I’m sure I’m not original in my thought, but the thought enters my head more and more often: What if the internet had been around when Walt had been building Disneyland?

Here’s the first preview the general public got of Disneyland:

Can you imagine “insider” reporting by some of the select few, who focused mainly on what was going wrong?

“Rumor has it the wrong trees were bulldozed. If this is the kind of care being put into this construction, what can we expect for the rest of the park?”

“Insiders are saying there aren’t enough attractions in the area of the park called ‘Tomorrowland.’ Instead, looks like the suits are pulling in sponsored exhibits, so get ready for lots of corporate plugs, folks. We don’t need that in a theme park.”

“@DisneyLanding1955 tweeted: Apparently @RealWaltDisney is using the plumbers strike to justify the lack of drinking fountains. Yet he’ll take your money for drinks. (@RealWaltDisney replied:@DisneyLanding1955 People can buy a Pepsi, but they can’t pee in the streets.)”

“Apparently the river that’s going to hold a steamboat completely drained overnight. I wouldn’t count on this park to be worth much with this kind of thing not being thought through.”

“The color scheme of the buildings in Fantasyland are loud and look more like a circus than a Fantasy. What’s more, there’s not even a Pinocchio ride.”

“I’m at the park, and a lot of guests seem to be coming in with counterfeit tickets. The ticket takers seem to be powerless to do anything about it. This is not a sign of good management”

“Crowd control is going to be an issue. The Mark Twain is about to tip over. This place was not built soundly.”

“It’s hot, and the asphalt isn’t hardened. Ladies are losing their heels. I’m beginning to think Disneyland will never be completed.”

Now, let’s be honest. If these were the images you had in your mind, would it influence you on whether or not you wanted to go to Disneyland? I’m not saying it would for everyone, but it would at least make me reluctant. However, people at home didn’t have that outlet. They had black and white TV sets. They had Walt showing up in 1954 with a new TV show that was essentially a huge commercial, albeit a very entertaining one at that. Opening day? Except for a few miscues, the viewing public had no idea of the craziness behind the scenes. They had a front row seat to a new and amazing world! The following day, newspapers ran the articles on the chaos, but at that point it was a bit late to form much public opinion. The general public had already seen magic from the comfort of their living room and now had a way to experience it themselves.

Now, I’m not saying that criticism is a bad thing. We learn from it. Mistakes and misfires are corrected and we move forward. However, it does pose the question: do we let it affect our personal judgement? The above scenarios, the “imagining” of internet reporting from back in the day – they’re all true instances thrown in with a bit of opinion (Although the bulldozing of the wrong trees has been purported to be a myth). As I asked before, would those statements make you more skeptical about going to Disneyland, or would you still go eagerly? What about movies that were predicted bombs, like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? The issues Walt had with P.L. Travers in getting Mary Poppins made?

I guess the point I’m trying to make is this:

Although I’ve used Disney as the example, this one could really apply to anything. Are we letting ourselves be influenced by inherent negativity online without actually thinking for ourselves, or is it better to go in with a bit of skepticism? The jury is still out for me personally, just a bit of something to think about as you read all those “insider” and negative articles. Perhaps a balance of both is in order?

I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on this!

I know this is overstating. I just find it really funny, too.

I know this is overstating. I just find it really funny, too.

It’s Been A Little Quiet Here….

I wanted to take a moment to apologize for a lack of updates here on the blog. Life has been very busy for the past couple weeks and I have not had the time necessary to provide what I would consider “quality” posts. As well, although I started out the year raring to go with Disney Parks’ “Limited Time Promotion,” to be completely honest, I’ve noticed not every promotion necessarily warranted a new post from me. I still plan on using the promotion for tie-ins throughout the year, when it seems fitting, but to write a post for every special sale or new line of merchandise…well, I honestly don’t see that happening.

But I do want to say this: Confessions of a DisNerd is not going anywhere. I may reshape the direction a bit as I strive to make it perhaps a bit more interactive, utilizing social media even more; but I’m not going away. Confessions of a DisNerd will continue to bring you positive posts from all aspects of the Disney company, hopefully with personal reflections that draw you, the reader in as well. I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2013 brings, as well as years beyond!

Thank you for your understanding, and I will say this: Be on the lookout for a new post on Monday, April 1st. Until then, enjoy your Easter weekend, everybody!

Pardon Our Dust

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?

Nope.

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!

Creating Magic – Who Inspires You?

3/8/13 12:00 PM PST – The contest portion of this blog post has now ended. The winner will be announced once he or she has been notified and has responded.

 

3/8/13 12:16 PM PST – Congratulations, Melanie! You have won the drawing and your choice of DVD or Book! Thanks for entering, everybody! Looking forward to another giveaway in the future!

 

Hello, dear readers and fellow DisNerds! Today’s blog post will be a little different, as instead of focusing on any “Limited Time Magic” promotion within Disney Parks, I’m turning the table to discuss the magic that lasts longer, and open up the conversation with all of you.

More often than not, when looking at the Limited Time Magic events, the ones that appeal to me the most are tied into company history; to those magical moments that resonate and inspire me. From the history of The Golden Horseshoe and Wally Boag to Disney movies that teach positive lessons about love, there’s so much to be celebrated regarding those who created the magic.

Of course, Walt is the first person that comes to mind as far as someone who truly inspires in the Disney universe. The man, his vision, work ethic and stubborness created an amazing world with a mix of fantasy and reality that have been unmatched.

And for that, I thank him.

But he’s not the only one. The Sherman Brothers, Robert and Richard are a huge personal influence, and a huge reason I love the music of Disney. The animators and songwriters behind the 80’s and 90’s resurgence of Disney animation brought Disney to the forefront in a time when animation was not looked upon favorably, and for that I am eternally thankful. Imagineers have done amazing things at Disney Parks worldwide and continue to truly create the magic. John Lasseter and the team from Pixar have brought amazing storytelling to the forefront, managing to make us laugh one minute and reach for the tissues to dry our eyes the next. If that’s not a definition of making magic, I don’t know what is.

A little closer and more personally to me, there are people in my life who have inspired me in my love for Disney as well. My wife, my fellow Disney fan, for her continuous support. My daughter, whose enthusiasm for Disney is unmatched, perhaps even by me. My friends who have encouraged me and shown me that I’m not the only DisNerd out there.

Then, there’s you, the readers and followers of this blog. The fact that you follow me here as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest…well, that means the world to me. It keeps me writing, to share my love of magic. I thank you all for reading, and it means the world to me.  Therefore, I’m going to throw a little bit of my own “Limited Time Magic” out there. As a thanks for those follows, which have hit 200+ followers on Facebook and 100+ followers on Twitter, I’ve got a little giveaway planned for one lucky reader (Sorry, immediate family of mine. You’re not eligible).

What do you have to do to enter? Simply reply to this entry in the comments section with your answer to the following question:

Who inspires you when it comes to Disney and creating magic?

The answer is all yours. It can be a celebrity, imagineer, friend or family member. I’d just love to see your answers.

From all of the responses posted on this blog between now and 12:00 PM PST on Friday, March 8th 2013, I will choose one random winner (For an explanation on the random choosing process, please check the explanation on my previous giveaway here). The winner gets to choose ONE prize from the list of the following pieces of media:

Waking Sleeping Beauty DVD

The Boys: The Sherman Brothers DVD

Walt & El Groupo DVD

Frank & Ollie DVD

Walt: An American Original book by Bob Thomas

Designing Disney book by John Hench

The Vault of Walt (Revised) book by Jim Korkis

Who’s Afraid Of Song Of the South book by Jim Korkis

Quite a few choices, as you can see, but all books or DVDs I personally recommend that show or tell about the people, many times behind the scenes, creating the magic. You win the drawing, you get to pick your choice!

I look forward to reading your responses as to who inspires your Disney magic!