The first time I visited what was then known as Disney’s California Adventure was in the spring of 2001. I was in high school, and the park was shiny and new. Having only opened a couple months prior, it was basically untouched. Part of that was due to a woeful lack of attendance. My visit took place on a Friday evening in what would have been spring break for some families, and even then I remember looking around and thinking, “Damn, this place is a ghost town.”
Danny and me, on our most recent visit to Disney California Adventure
Disney’s California Adventure was not the park that SoCal locals wanted, and it was not the park they were promised by Disney. In the late ’80s, Disney shopped the idea of another park not just to Anaheim, but to neighboring cities as well. Long Beach was in heavy consideration for a park called Port Disney. Eventually, the city of Anaheim won out by offering sweetheart tax breaks and large investments from the city in exchange for what should have been a $3.1B theme park. In 1995, the company’s plans for a second California theme park called WestCOT, first announced in 1991, finally fell through. But the idea of a second park remained. In 1996, Disney struck a deal with the city of Anaheim that would keep them from collecting and paying to the city a “gate tax” on theme park admission for the next 20 years with the promise of a second theme park. However, the new plans for a $1.4B park called Disney’s California Adventure were lackluster compared to the pie-in-the-sky WestCOT. Continue reading →
On our recent visit to Disneyland, we had breakfast at the River Belle Terrace in Frontierland. This “fast casual” dining spot currently serves breakfast and lunch, but will soon be transitioning into a table service restaurant and dropping breakfast in favor of dinner. I thought I should post about our breakfast there while it’s still relevant. If you don’t get to experience breakfast at the River Belle Terrace, though, fret not. You’re not missing anything, and the new table-service conversion will likely be for the best. Continue reading →
I recently started a photography project that has me publishing one photo per day on my personal Tumblr. Today, I’m catching up on some personal projects in our home office. This is one of my favorite places to be as I find it both cozy and stimulating. These Alice in Wonderland plush that sit beside me are my photo inspiration for today.
I never intentionally picked themed pieces for this room, but I’m definitely attracted to the colorful and whimsical. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of my favorite books, and the 1951 Alice in Wonderland is my favorite Disney animated feature. The chair that these little guys sit on is more than a little Mad Tea Party, which is probably at least part of what attracted me to it. The same goes for our bookcases, which I backed with flamingo wallpaper.
Do you have any Disney touches in your home, be they subtle allusions or overt splashes like mine?
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That is, it’s planning season for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The Festival Marketplace menus were announced yesterday, and we want to take a look at what’s new, what’s returning, and what’s off the menu for 2014. We’ll also share our opinions, because such things surely must matter.
Culinary Demonstration with Chef Phillip Ponticelli: Pan-Seared Florida Shrimp with Tomato Egg Fettuccini and Tomato Basil Water
A few years ago, I endeavored to watch all of Walt Disney’s 75 Silly Symphonies cartoons in chronological order of release. It was a fun and enriching project for me, and I came out of it with several favorites. Among them was Funny Little Bunnies (1934). I thought watching it again today would be a great way to celebrate Easter.
Funny Little Bunnies (1934)
This is a cartoon that inspires mixed reviews from animation fans. Some say that it’s saccharine and devoid of plot, while others say that it is, in fact, a very subtle political cartoon exploring Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. Whether you think it’s either of those things, I hope you can delight in the animation and cartoon humor. I particularly love the patterned cans of paint.
“I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” was a song originally written for the play My Fair Lady. It’s a song I like quite a lot, particularly the Dean Martin version. However, a close second is Kermit’s bizarre lip-synching of Rosemary Clooney’s rendition.
I shared this video on Twitter a couple weeks ago, but thought I would post about it some more, because it’s just so darn funny. Kermit would often perform this song in drag in the 1950s and 60s, back in the days when he was more reptilian than amphibian, to Yorick, who was in need of a snack. This rendition was filmed at Henson Alternative’s live Stuffed and Unstrung variety show. There is no watching this video and telling me that puppets (especially Muppets) are just for kids.
Note: I scheduled the below post last week, before John Henson’s untimely passing due to a massive heart attack. It seems even more appropriate to share it now, as this was a piece originated by his father, but one that he brought back to life for both the D23 Expo and Stuffed and Unstrung. Rest in peace, Mr. Henson.
In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I thought I’d share a blast from the past that was a favorite in my household when I was growing up. My parents and I still talk about all the songs we loved in the D-TV episode titled “Doggone Valentine.”
Disney’s D-TV “Doggone Valentine” Title Card
For those of you who don’t remember it, D-TV was Disney’s kid-friendly response to the growing popularity of music videos in the mid to late 1980s. Originally released on NBC for Valentine’s Day 1987, “Doggone Valentine” was branded as “Doggone Hits” in subsequent airings on the Disney Channel. I think this is where my parents taped it on VHS, ostensibly for me, but mostly because they loved the songs featured, like “Stray Cat Strut” and “Bad to the Bone.” You can watch the entire special in five parts on YouTube, which are linked below:
Note that the last video is mis-labled as “Part 6”, but it’s actually the fifth and final part.