Fab News: Merry Christmas, May The Force Be With You

Written by Shelly Valladolid. Posted in Adventures By Disney, Animal Kingdom, Diamond Celebration, Disney, Disney Hollywood Studios, Disney Infinity, Disney Interactive, Disney News, Disney Parks, Disneyland Resort, Fab News, Magic Kingdom, Star Wars, Walt Disney World

Tagged:

Published on December 22, 2015 at 3:00 am with 44 Comments

First of all, Hau’oli la hanau (happy birthday) to one of my best pals, Roger Colton, one of the best bad influences a Disney Babe could ever ask for. Kungaloosh!

He’s the happy feller on the right. He runs these things. I bartend. The guy on the left keeps me busy.

 

Star Wars

She Who is Never Cold put on a sweater this week, so that’s one for the books. We were not able to attend the Disney Infinity showing of Number Seven Friday night, but we did go see it on our own early Saturday Morning. If you want to join our spoiler-heavy secret discussion group on Facebook, let me know in the comments below and I’ll add you.  Apparently, The Force Awakens made all of the money in the entire world, which is what should happen when you make something high-quality, that is good storytelling, good movie-making, and gives fresh life to a series while retaining the heart and soul of what made it a great series in the first place. Is that non-spoilery enough to let you know what I thought without ruining it? I hope so.

So, please, CEO, Prexy and other Kings and Queens of Entertainment Conglomerates and Chaebols everywhere: take note: if you make something good, people will give you money and be happy about it. Tell that to the people who don’t care about the something good part, only the money part. Tell them if they want the money to KEEP COMING, they have to keep feeding and petting that goose, not chase it around with a hatchet. I wish everyone would follow this example.

8_15_WDI_001-1

One thing: I wish I could understand why Star Wars Land is being added to Disneyland instead of getting its own park. I mean, they could even build it small to start and include it in the admission price of Disneyland, but have it over there  ==>  wouldn’t they make more money if it were a third park? I’m not in the theme park business, so I don’t understand how it all works. I only see the end product and guess at the rest based on the history I know. I just wish Mr. Iger could explain to dummy Fab why this is how it must be. I’m sure the reason is a good one, I’m just not privy to what it is. Well, I know I’ll love it when it opens, wherever it is.  And deep inside, nine-year-old Michelle Smith will be flipping out.

Ciao, Anabella

As Disneyland gets more characters, it seems like the outside world, at least the area around Disneyland, is losing a lot of its character, becoming more homogenized every year. Yes, the Peter Pan and Apollo Inn were tacky as all get-out, but they were also a lot of fun. Each place around had its own personality, from A-Frames to Mid-Century Modern Motels, giant neon characters and letters looming and that gorgeous classic Disneyland sign on Harbor. Now, it’s all very tasteful and soon it seems like you will drive down Harbor blvd and not be able to tell the difference between it and any street in any city in Orange County. Or Indiana. Or Cleveland. But upper-class business convention travelers prefer it that way, and there is a huge, world-class convention center across the street that demands more four-star hotels than the lone Grand Californian. So four or five stars are on the way, including one on the spot where our beloved Anabella Hotel stands. It’s going to be torn down and replaced by a big luxury convention business hotel for business travelers. The new hotel is dearly needed, but the old one will be dearly missed. The owners, the Hong Kong-based Wincome Group, stay the same.

Photo: Wincome Group

Photo: Wincome Group

From Pirates’ Gold to Golden Books at the Polynesian Village

The Neverland Club was the old childrens activity center at the Polynesian Resort. It went away when the “Village” name came back, replaced with Lilo’s Playhouse.

Stories unfold at Lilo's Playhouse at DisneyÕs Polynesian Village Resort. The whimsical childrenÕs activity center brings Lilo's favorite classic Disney Little Gold Books tales such as Pinocchio, Lady and the Tramp and Alice in Wonderland to life. While parents enjoy a night out, youngsters can delve into dress up, crafts, storytelling and other fun faves in themed areas alongside children's activity coordinators. Lilo's Playhouse is a part of an overall renovation of the iconic resort hotel that includes a re-imagined feature pool, new food and beverage offerings and an expansive new lobby area. (Ryan Wendler, photographer)

(All Lilo’s Playhouse photos Disney, Ryan Wendler, photographer)

In the Neverland Club, you entered through the Darling children’s bedroom – the greeter’s desk was a bed! – and when you checked in, Peter Pan himself came to the “window” to escort your little one to Neverland. Alice was too little to go by herself when we went, so they let us go in and look around. There was a pirate ship and Peter Pan’s tree house, and there were Disney characters on hand. It was really charming, but the kids were mostly either watching Disney movies on VHS or tugging at the characters’ sleeves. Video games weren’t really a thing yet.

Child-Sized Fun in LiloÕs Playhouse at DisneyÕs Polynesian Village ResortSo, now there’s this great place that is still very themed, but the characters and theming seem to be a lot more accessible; it’s Lilo’s favorite Little Golden Books. (Where’s The Ugly Duckling?)

Child-Sized Fun in LiloÕs Playhouse at DisneyÕs Polynesian Village ResortThere are more activities and hands-on crafts, costumes to wear, games to play, and even someone to read them a story.

Child-Sized Fun in Lilo's Playhouse at Disney's Polynesian Village ResortBut yes, there’s still videos, if they feel like cooling down and watching for a spell.

Child-Sized Fun in LiloÕs Playhouse at DisneyÕs Polynesian Village Resort It’s a nice variety and I really like the callouts to some of the old classics like Lady and the Tramp and, still, Peter Pan. Child-Sized Fun in LiloÕs Playhouse at DisneyÕs Polynesian Village Resort

Star Wars Studios. LucasFilm Studios. Disney’s PixarLucas Adv…

In Florida, they didn’t get Hyperspace Mountain, poor saps, but their Space Mountain is so good I’d rather it be left untouched anyway. Don’t believe me? See what all the stars of Unforgettable Christmas said their favorite ride was. Space. Mountain. Anyway, Instead, they got a few extra goodies at the Studios:

Disney (David Roark, photographer)

Disney (all Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple photos by David Roark)

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple is the new version of the Jedi Training show. Younglings are guided to an ancient temple to face off with some pretty hairy villains for such little kids.

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple

Did they even see Episode III? Maybe it’s going out of canon like EU. A girl can hope. But look, that kid got Vader right in the ole snoot!

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple

How cool is that, with the Imperial walker? And it’s not just baddies from the movies! The Seventh Sister – remember, I talked about her, from Star Wars Rebels – is one of the villains kids get to put the Force beat-down on, too!

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple

Do they have the makings of a true Jedi? Or will they bow to Vader like that one adorable little girl did?

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple

I think after seeing the movie last weekend, the kids are going to be fighting a lot harder. Especially the girls!

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple

But wait! There’s more! Do you remember Sorcery in the Sky, that fantastic fireworks show that Vincent Price narrated; it was the first really story-heavy themed fireworks show Disney did. Now, there is Symphony in the Skies, a Galactic Spectacular, which actually has about five seconds of Sorcery in the Sky in it! (Probably not on purpose). It’s the pew-pew-pew-pew-pew! part.

"Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular" Disney (David Roark, photographer)

“Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular” Disney (David Roark, photographer)

Fab News wouldn’t be so fab without the help from our Patreon and Square sponsors and our Sponsors at DVCResaleMarket.com If you’re thinking of buying or selling Disney Vacation Club points, check out their website. You might just learn something helpful, and save a lot of money too.

Micechat AD 12.1.15 528x102 (1)

A Dining Room With a View

Speaking of DVC, Alice and I loved Sanaa so much at Jambo House, the DVC wing of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, we were delighted to learn that a new animal-themed restaurant is opening inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the near future:

Tiffins Signature Restaurant Coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom in 2016

It’s going to be called “Tiffins”, and will celebrate the art of traveling.  A Tiffin is the midday meal or a container used to carry hot food. Tiffins will have waterfront views from both indoor and outdoor seating (will there be dining and show packages? I do not know.) But if there are dining and show packages, this might be the view:

Fountain-Rendering

But Can He Play Pooh-Sticks?

At Disneyland, it’s really, really crowded, but if you can get in, check out Santa in his new digs – Pooh and pals built it just for him in the Critter Country meet and greet area, as you can tell by the photos behind him. It’s a cute new spot for the jolly old elf who is just about to take an epic ride around the world. Good luck big guy!

11_15_DL_16781

It’s a Spectacular Two-Hour Extravaganza

The 32nd Annual Salute to the Holidays at all Disney Theme Parks (but Mostly Walt Disney World) is being called An Unforgettable Christmas this year, and it’s going to be pretty sweet if you’re a fan of The Descendants, Pretty Little Liars, Radio Disney or ABC Family. Robin Roberts will co-host with ESPN’s Jesse Palmer, and the Music Host will be Janel Parrish from Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family, which is changing its name to the inexplicable FREEFORM (I swear, I keep wanting to say FREESTYLE) Oh, well, at least I’m not holding up a lighter and yelling “FREEBIRD!!!!” To keep spoilers to a minimum for this December 25th 10AM airing, I’m putting the photos in a gallery below:

After Christmas, is after-Christmas sales, where you burn up all those gift cards you received. Don’t fret! I’ve actually got a couple more (albeit smaller) Fabulous Things for AFTER Christmas…just in case.

MiceChat New Year’s Eve at Disneyland and DCA!

And speaking of after Christmas, MiceChat’s going to be doing it up right on New Year’s Eve at the Disneyland Resort!

MC_NewYears

MiceChat New Year’s Eve will be at the Disneyland Resort this year. With so many of our members telling us that they are opting to give up the last two weeks of the year on their annual passes next year, we thought we should give a final NYE celebration to all of you. Our plans will take us to both Disneyland and DCA. We hope you can join us!

  • Stop by DCA in the morning and pick up a Fastpass for the midnight showing of World of Color.
  • MiceChat noon meet at Disneyland (Central hub near Walt and Mickey)
  • 12:30 Lunch at Rancho Zocalo.

Then we’ll all move to Disney California Adventure Park for the evening!

  • 4pm meetup on the Patio of the Golden Vine Winery near Blue Sky Cellar.
  • 7pm Dinner in Paradise Garden Grill patio followed by drinks at one of the DCA bars.
  • At 11pm, we’ll make our way to the Paradise Pier lagoon to get ready for the big show.
  • We’ll dance the remainder of the night away at the Mad T Party

We hope you can join us! CLICK HERE to join our Facebook Event!

Everything’s Coming Up Diamonds

The next morning is the wonderful Tournament of Roses parade, and almost every year, Disney dazzles with a fabulous floral fantasy of a float – well, this year will be no exception. Plans call for a three-in-one float: Elsa’s ice castle, then Mickey and Minnie greeting everyone from Sleeping Beauty Castle – complete with flowery fireworks!, then a celebration of a story from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away! Here’s the artist’s rendering of the float: ToR_disney_3kx2k-parade

Only 2.5 Shopping Days Left!

Shelly’s Fabulous Things

fab_things

Remember how I was talking about after Christmas? Here’s some things that you can give FOR Christmas, but they (and you, if it’s a family, group or couple gift) can do AFTER the wrapping paper’s been balled up and put into the recycle bin.

Christmas at the Winchester Mystery Housemaxresdefault

Come explore the mansion on a winter’s night as it glows with Christmas magic and wafts with the scents of peppermint, cookies and gingerbread. You’ll encounter holiday revelers from the past and maybe take a family portrait with St. Nick himself! Outside in the Central Gardens you’ll enjoy carolers, holiday treats, heart-warming festive beverages, meet Mrs. Claus¸ and experience a miracle snowfall on the hour.”

26 & 27 | 5:20pm – 9pm
Tour Length: 50 Minutes
$24 Adults (13-64) & Seniors (65+)
$14 Children (6-12) | 5 and under free

There’s also the daytime tour: “Our traditional year-round tour of Sarah Winchester’s magnificent 160-room Victorian mansion is augmented with holiday tales of long ago and exquisite Christmas décor throughout its many winding halls, parlors and bedrooms.” 

Daily | 9am – 5pm
Tour Length: 65 Minutes
$36 Adults (13-64) | $32 Seniors (65+)
$26 Children (6-12) | 5 and under free

http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/christmas/index.cfm

South Africa by Adventures by Disney with Fairy Godmother TravelSouthAfrica

Trip Highlights
  • Experience Cape Town
    Take a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain, Cape Town for a privately guided hike. Then, descend back into town for a visit to the District Six apartheid museum.
  • 3-Day Safari At The Kapama Game Reserve
    Climb aboard a jeep for a private expedition into the bush country in search of the “Big 5:” lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and cape buffaloes.
  • Pastry Class
    Journey to wine country – Stellenbosch, for a South African pastry cooking lesson. Then head to Spier Wine Farm where everyone can enjoy a falconry demonstration.
  • Privately Guided Hike At Featherbed Nature Reserve
    Take a ferry across the Knysna Lagoon to the Featherbed Nature Reserve. Marvel at the scenery as you hike the trails to a mountaintop vista.
  • Cape Of Good Hope And African Penguins
    View the southern tip of the African continent at the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point. Following lunch on the oceanfront of Simon’s Town, enjoy a walk to a sandy cove where you’ll be greeted by charming African penguins.

People I know who have gone on this trip have described it as “life-changing” (in a GOOD way!), that they saw things they never imagined could exist, had their minds and hearts opened. Let’s go!

For more information, go to www.fairygodmothertravel.com or click here

Knott’s Berry Farm Season Pass

kbf_wintersp_tktfeature

I love Knott’s Berry Farm – it’s a California classic! The food is great, the rides are fun, and the Season Pass is pretty inexpensive and gets you discounts on food and merchandise, and special preview events, like the Haunt announcement in August and the special passholder previews of Voyage to the Iron Reef and Knott’s Merry Farm. You can add on parking, Soak City water park or even two fast-food meals per day!

Click here for more information or to buy passes.

Disneyland Annual Passport

annual_passpot

Should you? Shouldn’t you? It’s a Benjamin down and $63.00 or so a month for the most common sense pass, that just blocks out the two madhouse weeks at Christmas. Ask yourself this: do you go once a month? If you do, this pass more than pays for itself, doesn’t it? Hell, even the tippy-top one does, the Signature Plus at 80 bucks a month after 99 dollars down. If you paid at the gate for a park hopper, it would be 150 plus, each and every time. This is still a gargantuan bargain. We gave up going to the movies every other weekend and nixed our staycations to San Francisco and San Diego, etc altogether so that we can afford our passes. Something had to give, and it was worth it to us. You have to decide for yourself if it’s worth it to you, or if you want to drop this much on a loved one who can’t swing that every month. The nice thing is, if you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World, you can upgrade to the Premier Pass and keep making monthly payments – something you cannot do if you buy the Premier Pass directly. 

New Year’s Eve at Medieval Times

med-29054_nye_landing_ca

For information or reservations, click here.

There are no discounts on the 9:45 show, but remember, MiceChat readers get 40% all other shows (MICECHAT DISCOUNT TICKETS HERE)!

 

Win a LA, Hollywood and Beaches Tour

Our friends at Gray Line Tours, the folks who take you from the Disneyland Resort area to other local theme parks and attractions are holding another awesome giveaway. It’s worth entering folks. Ari Merino and her family are on their way to Legoland California from the last contest.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And, if you are interested in discounted tickets to Universal Studios, Sea World San Diego, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Safari Park, LA/Hollywood/Beaches tour, LA City Lights Tour, 2 or 3 park “Transfer Pass” you can save $10 on adult tickets. Just call 714-978-8855 and ask for the “Facebook $10 Discount Offer”.  Gray Line makes it really easy to get around folks. If you are staying in the Disneyland Resort area without a car or just don’t want to deal with driving in the crazy SoCal traffic, give Gray Line a call.

Aulani Vacation with your own DVC points

Fab News sponsors DVCResaleMarket.com can help you make this one happen. Just give them a call or visit their website, and you’ll be planning your trip to your HOME in no time!

Learn about how to most wisely spend your points when it comes to resorts, cruises and more: DVCResale.com on YouTube

Micechat AD 12.1.15 528x102 (1)

 

Thanks for your support, and see you Thursday!  I will be fighting the crowds at Disneyland Wednesday.

If you want to reach me I’m on Twitter, on Facebook, and also available at [email protected] . If you’d like to support Fab News, I’d appreciate it. You can pledge a dollar or more a month through Patreon or you can make a one-time donation of a dollar or more through Square. Just click on the banners below. Thanks!

fabnewspatreon

Fab-News-Square-Blue

About Shelly Valladolid

Shelly Valladolid, The Fabulous Disney Babe, has been writing about Disney and theme parks for about two decades. She has written for various fan and pop culture sites, Disney Magazine and OCRegister.com and participated in several books, including Passporter's Disneyland and Southern California and Disney World Dreams. She was co-founder and president of the Orlando, Florida chapter of the NFFC (now Disneyana Fan Club). She taught a class on theme park history at a Southern California University. She is creator and co-owner of Jim Hill Media, one of the creators of MousePlanet and was a consultant on MSNBC, The Motley Fool and others about Disney. She was a Heel wrestling manager on TV and a voice artist on the radio in Honolulu, HI, where she grew up. She has a blog: PinkMonorail.com and an upcoming podcast of the same name. She and her husband, MiceChat columnist Noe Valladolid, live in Southern California with their and Jim's daughter, Alice Hill.

Browse Archived Articles by

Share1
Tweet
+11
Pin
Stumble