Disney California Adventure!

Jondee here at Grizzly Peak,

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Summer is here and the sun is out beating down on park goers and cast members alike. This was a chance to go on Soarin’ Over California before it changes to Soarin’ Around the World on June 17th. It was the first ride of the day and proven to be the most relaxing and thrilling attraction in the park. The hang gliding around Yosemite, the beach in Malibu, and of course the spectacular fireworks finale at Disneyland occupied by Jerry Goldsmith score. I hope everyone gets a chance to ride it before it closes. I went over to Toy Story Mania, I only scored a Beaver, 4th from the bottom. Struck by hunger, I walked over to Ariel’s Grotto, this is usually reservations, but this was in the morning. It is fancy, you walk down the stairs to take a pic with Ariel in her green princess dress. Then, it is fine dining, a plate of fresh fruit, watermelons, strawberries, and blueberries – love `em. Also, a plate of pastries, I wanted to eat them all, but the All-American Breakfast was too filling and delicious. I worked food at Disneyland, this is quality, and worth the price. The outside patio has a great view of California Screamin’, Mickey’s Fun Wheel, and the Golden Zephyr. If all of that is not impressive, there is a presentation and meet and greet by four princesses, in this case Rapunzel, Cinderella, Belle, and Tiana. Gotta say they were all charming and spent time at each table. Speaking of working at Disney, here’s a shout out to Dez and Guy at the park. Highly recommended for families.

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Next up was Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters which replaced Luigi’s Flying Tires which was fun. There was some delay as there was some testing, but it’s great to see the dancing cars, at the end riders throw their arms up for the final spin. My car was dancing to “Mambo Italiano”, sliding, shuffling, and the spin. It’s fun to see the mini-cars going into a dance. I would like to see some interactivity like pressing a beeping horn when the dance starts or setting off low level head lights or rear bumper lights to the song. The last ride was Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Rumor has it that the ride with close in the fall and turn into Guardians of the Galaxy. Whatever the truth may be, the ride is still thrilling, the Hollywood Studios version has the elevator moving horizontally through electricity racing through corridors, this is the bizarre part of a rolling elevator, the narration is what is seen in the screen where the passengers are vaporized. The WDW version has ball lightning and Twilight Zone images on the drops. The California Adventure has enough dips and drops, but less flavor. Next, was Turtle Talk with Crush. The audience is seated in front of the screen, a “Window to the Pacific”, which kinda works better at The Seas with Nemo & Friends at EPCOT. Crush swims up to the hydrophone and interacts with audience members answering questions. The fun part was seeing the brief appearances of Hank, the octopus, Bailey the beluga whale, and of course Dory and Squirt from the first film. At one point, Crush plays hide and seek and kids point out Squirt leading Crush to say Finding Squirt is really the third film.

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Also at Disney Animation is Anna & Elsa’s Royal Welcome which is nice because there are lines for Frozen – Live at the Hyperion. It replaced Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular and also The Power of Blast! based on the Broadway musical. I was in the back of the Mezzanine so I could only tell the performers apart by their costume. So I think there was some projection technology which instantly changed Elsa’s dress, but I was kinda more impressed by Ariel changing from mermaid to dress in the Voyage of the Little Mermaid live show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. First, the beginning was nice with the chorus, but I think the second half dragged with no chorus, but it did have the puppet Olaf. The dancing girls in his number is a fun nod to 50’s musicals. So, I hoped the chorus would be brought in more in the second. The actress playing Anna has the clumsy part down, but not the pretty part that came through Kristen Bell’s performance. Then, of course there is Idina Menzel’s part, which one makes it seem criminal that she had no singing part in the Enchanted musical, and two that what she brought to Elsa can’t be matched, but it’s a good try. The trolls don’t have the caliber of the talent in the film, but nice, I just hope they have more of the actor’s faces in the masks. Next, there is enough additions to the dialogue that it is not a rote reenactment of the film. Plus, the best part was the “Love is an Open Door” at the finale not as a song of deception, but turned into a song of forgiveness. So, for fans of Frozen, yes, but not past an hour or so wait. Frozen does seem to be perfect entertainment for the summer.

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