Saturday, May 6, 2017

Disneyland Hotel, March 2017

When I was young, my Mom took me to Disneyland each year for my birthday. Even though we only lived 45 minutes way from Disneyland, we would stay at the Disneyland Hotel. This was back before Disney acquired the Disneyland Hotel in 1988. Yes, that's right! The Disneyland Hotel at one time wasn't owned by Disney at all, it was owned by Jack Wrather and Helen Alvarez. Disney had used all his resources and capital on Disneyland and didn't have the money to open a hotel so he negotiated a deal with Wrather and Alvarez to own and operate the Disneyland Hotel. Much has changed since then, including the names of the Hotel Towers, the Koi ponds, paddle boats, Olympic sized pool, putting green, marina and waterfalls being removed, and water slides being added, among other things.

Here's a look at the layout of the Disneyland Hotel as it stands in 2017.
Because the Main Street Electrical Parade was back at Disneyland for a limited time (a parade I used to watch with my Mom when we'd go to Disneyland) I wanted to take my family there to see it. To keep with the nostalgic theme I was creating for my family, I decided that we would stay at the Disneyland Hotel. Typically when we go every year, we stay in one of the hotels across the street on Harbor Blvd, which offer a slightly shorter walk to get to Disneyland and are significantly cheaper than the Disneyland Hotel. But this year, we were all in for a great treat! Because the park hours are shorter during the spring time, which is when we were visiting, it also made more sense since we'd be spending a little more time at the hotel.

Here's a look at our stay in pictures:

Here's a look at the Lobby of the Fantasy Tower, where guests check-in for all three towers. 
As a nod to Fantasyland, for which this tower is named, there is a seating area designed with Tea Cups.

Here's a look at the brilliant blue lighting behind the check-in desk.
The Hotel area is well signed. This is the sign as you leave the Fantasy Tower and head south-east, either toward Disneyland or to the Frontier Tower.

As we walked from the Fantasy Tower to the Frontier Tower, we passed the Monorail Water Slides which looked spectacular at night! We stayed so busy at Disneyland during our trip that only 2 of our family tried out the new water slides...but they enjoyed them!

Our room was located in the Frontier Tower which is the furthest tower to the south and, consequently, the longest walk of the the three towers to get to Disneyland.

The lobby of the Frontier Tower, including the amazing replica of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Our rooms were located on the 9th floor...
...which meant that we had fantastic views of the Hotel Resort area...
...and even a little glimpse into Disneyland.
As we stepped off the elevator on the 9th floor, we were greeted with this awesome carpet! 
And here's a look at the hallway to our rooms.
The vending machine in the hallway was missing a few items...
The next few pictures will show what our rooms looked like. The couch on the right side of the picture actually turns into a bed which Trey, my 9 year old, was excited to claim as his own!
Here's a closer look at the couch and a look at the cabinet where the mini-fridge is located (in the bottom right cupboard).
Here's a closer look at the beds and the back board that is, perhaps, the coolest part of the room.

The lamp on the desk between the beds has a switch that allows you to light up the bed board which also plays "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes." Below is a video of the bed board in action!
Here's a look at the bathroom...
The fixtures offered a nice touch.

Just opposite the bathroom is a small study area.
Just outside the Frontier Tower is Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar. Although we didn't get to try it this trip, it looked like a fun atmosphere to relax after a long day at the park or during an off day.

We had such a fun time staying at the Disneyland Hotel. The service was great, the themeing was amazing, and the rooms were adequate. If the pricing wasn't so outrageous we'd make a habit of staying here!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Johnny Depp surprises guests on Pirates of the Caribbean

Guests of Disneyland who ventured on the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction this evening got the surprise of there lives! According to several posts on social media, Johnny Depp interacted with guests during one of the scenes on the ride. During the Spanish village scene where a pirate captain and a crew member are questioning a prisoner while loweringing him into a well, Depp was seen front and center along the waters edge asking guests what their names were and further interacting with them while in full Captain Jack Sparrow Character.

Guests reported that prior to Depp's appearance, the attraction was shut down for a short period of time and that a sign was posted in the queue area informing guests that filming was taking place. This indicates to me that the appearance of Johnny Depp will most likely be used for promotional material for the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, "Dead Men Tell No Tales" set to premiere on May 26th.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sounds of Disneyland: The Winnie The Pooh Attraction (Audio)

The following is the Audio from the Winnie the Pooh Attraction, recorded December 22nd, 2016.

Although I was extremely disappointed when I heard that one of my favorite attractions, The Country Bear Jamboree, was leaving Disneyland and being replaced by Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh has become one of my 3 year old's favorites! So because of that, we seem to ride it at least 5 times a trip and seeing the look of joy on my daughter's face has softened my heart towards Winnie the Pooh and in turn made it one of my favorites as well.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Disneyland Trip Report: March 6th-8th 2017

Although some of the attractions were down for their normal refurbishment, early March proved to be a great time to go, as crowds were slightly lighter than normal (although it's pretty busy nowadays no matter when you go...) and the weather was great,

Here's our trip report in pictures:

Although I didn't capture it with a picture, the morning entrance lines to get into Disneyland stretched more than half way across the esplanade over to Disney's CA Adventure (DCA) side. Meanwhile, the lines to get into DCA  were practically non existent. With Star Wars land opening in 2 years, creating even more of an attendance disparity between the two parks, Disney better come up with some pretty good ideas as to how they are going to get people into DCA.
We headed to Tomorrowland first where we rode Autopia and captured a few pictures of the Matterhorn which was down for its refurbishment. Rumor has it that Fastpass will be heading to this attraction.
Here's a better look at a little of the work being done to the Matterhorn.
And while we're in Tomorrowland, here's a look at the subs...
...along with a random shot from above of the subs operating controls.
The Jedi Training Academy was fun to watch. Darth Vader is the fan favorite villain. The Seventh Sister lacks the kind of presence that he and Kylo Ren bring to the stage. 
Over in Star Wars Launch Bay we ran into Boba Fett who remained completely in character throughout our picture.
Boba Fett has always been my favorite Star Wars character since I was a kid - thus he gets two photos in my blog! 
Alice was a little more up to speed for my 3 year old, though...
A very merry un-birthday to you!
To Judi's dismay, the White Rabbit didn't seem to be home...

Gaston, Belle, and the Beast (below) made their rounds through Fantasyland interacting with guests but not stopping for pictures.

The Village Haus Restaurant has been temporarily transformed into The Red Rose Tavern (Beauty and the Beast themed). Although it's hard to tell in this picture, the line goes all the way to the fence that blocks the way into Frontierland and the restaurant wasn't even open yet! It's pretty amazing when Disney has figured out a way to get people to wait in line for an hour to buy overpriced food!  
Meanwhile, we ate at our favorite spot, the Golden Horseshoe, where we enjoyed chicken nuggets and hot fudge sundaes...
...while enjoying the show.
An often missed sign in the queue on Thunder Mountain explaining why the red lanterns are present in the tunnel mine scene. Thunder Mountain is one of my kids' favorites! 
A little more work is being done to the Sailing Ship Columbia to get it ready for it's new role as part of the Pirates of the Caribbean segment in the new Fantasmic!!, opening this summer.
Here's a look at a little of the new paint work done to one of the buildings on Tom Sawyer Island.
This was the first time I remember seeing Pocahontas posing for pictures.
Although the Disneyland Railroad is still closed until mid-July, the New Orleans Square Train Station is still open and allows you to cross to the other side.
Work continues on Pirates of the Caribbean to get it ready for its re-opening on March 16th, just in time for it's 50th anniversary on the 18th.

I love the humor of the Jungle Cruise. 
Time to get ready for the Main Street Electrical Parade - the whole reason for this trip!
The iconic Pete's Dragon float. You can see my post dedicated to the entire Main Street Electrical Parade here:
Over in California Adventure, work continues on the transformation of the Tower of Terror into Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! It is scheduled to open late May.

Although many people, my daughters included, are sad to see the Tower of Terror go, it will be nice to have a different ride here in California since the Tower of Terror will remain as it is in Florida. 
The Newsies with added paw prints on the trolley of Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Time for the Star Wars Land construction update!
The first few pictures are taken from the Critter Country side of the park:

First, here's an overview of the project.

In this picture you can see the trellis that the Disneyland Railroad will be crossing.
Here's a look through a knot in the construction wall in Critter Country near the Hungry Bear Restaurant. It shows the drained Rivers of America. The small cement knobs are the start of the track that the ships will be on when the Rivers of America are operating this summer. 

Here's a look at the former Big Thunder Trail which will lead guests to Star Wars Land, once it opens.

If you look closely at the building to the right-center of the picture, you'll notice that it is made to look like a western type building, indicating that this area will be themed as Frontierland, just before going through the tunnel into Star Wars Land.

This is the area where the pedestrian tunnel will lead guests from Frontierland into Star Wars Land. Also, if you look closely on the left side of the picture (you can enlarge the picture by clicking on it) you can see a panel of rustic looking roof shingles ready to be added to a building.

The rock work in this picture looks an awful lot like the rumored throwback to one of Disney's most missed former attractions - The Mine Train Through Natures Wonderland. In a work of creative genius, Disney is building the edge of Frontierland here so tall as to block any view of Star Wars Land, thus maintaining the feel of Frontierland while you are still there. Disney has also erected a huge berm behind the western structures to further block the view/sounds. 

Here's a better look at the sheer size of that berm and another closer look at the rustic looking building.
That's it for our trip report! Thanks for looking!