Category Archives: Disney

Disney Hidden Treasures: 2 of ?

There are few places in Disneyland that I like more than the animation academy. I guess technically the animation studio is in California Adventure but whatever it’s part of Disney parks. It’s one of my favorite places because it’s one of the places were you can just sit and relax and enjoy Disney.

The thing that really makes this place great is the loop of Disney Classics playing in the background. You can sing along with everything from “Hi Ho” to “Let it Go”. The screens surround you. They let you experience the movies. You get to see concept art and sketches come to life. And best of all nobody judges you when you sing along.

The Animation Academy also has some fun hidden gems. You can learn how to draw a different Disney characters with the Disney animators. They show you some basic steps for how to draw a Mickey or how to draw Pluto. Every half hour brings a new Disney characters to life and you get to be part of that magic.

My attempt at drawing Minnie Mouse

You can also head over to the Sorcerer’s Workshop where you can draw your own cartoon. The first room of the sorcerer’s workshop contains zoetropes, a spinning device that allows cartoons to come to life. Afterwords head down to the beast’s library to learn which Beauty and the Beast character you’re most like. Then brush up on your karaoke skills by singing like Ariel in Ursula’s grotto.

Next go talk with a turtle with turtle talk with crush. This is a surprisingly fun interactive encounter. Crush actually talks to people and answers your questions about pretty much anything that you want to ask him. He’s curious about human swimming wear and will even tried a dab if you ask him. I’m not joking about that last one. Some kid asked him and he tried it. It was really funny.

So while some folks might just know the Animation Academy as a place where you can go meet Anna and Elsa, I know it is a place where I can sit, relax and enjoy everything that I love about Disney.

Disney Hidden Treasures, part 1 Of ?

I enjoy going to Disneyland. So much so that I travel to the magical kingdom at least once a month and pay homage to the mouse. On my treks, I have many spots that are less known to people but magical to me to. I’m not sure how long this series will be or even how often I will post new locations, but here’s the first:

Mickey and the Magical Map:

This show tells the story of Mickey, an apprentice map maker, who desperately wants to be a full map maker. He notices that the other map makers left a spot unpainted on their map. Determined to make his mark and prove his worth, Mickey tries to paint the spot. Spot has other plans. Thus starts Mickey’s magical and musical adventure.

Mickey’s adventures take him to wonderful places north, south, east and west where he witnesses musical numbers by Mulan, Pocahontas, and Stitch. There, he learns the importance of the journey and of leaving his imagination open to new possibilities.

Mickey and the Magical Map is a great show where you get to see some of those lesser seen characters such as Pocahontas and Mulan, as well as hear great songs from Jungle Book and The Little Mermaid. The music, dancing, and original numbers are fun and catchy. I guarantee you’ll be singing them for the rest of the day. The appearance of familiar characters will have the little Musketeers cheering. The message of enjoying the journey is one that all big kids will appreciate.

On top of the show being wonderful, the stage is located next to the Troubadour Tavern, which is home to an amazingly delicious baked potato. Grab a bit and get ready to grove along with Mickey on his adventures.

Fantasyland Theatre is located across from Small World at the Toontown entrance. Mickey and the Magical Map has showtimes most days between 10a and 6pm.

Disney Solo

Almost seven years ago, I made my first solo trek to the land of pixie dust and Happily


Jack and Sally were excited to see me!

Ever Afters.  I am, of course, talking about Disneyland.  I wasn’t even aware that one was allowed, as an adult, to go to Disneyland by oneself.  But I hadn’t been in years and I couldn’t find someone to go with me.  Thus began a beautiful experience in being okay with being myself and enjoying the things that I love because I love them.

Since that fateful trip seven years ago, I have made it a habit to go to Disneyland by myself at least once a year.  It might seem strange to others who have never been, or to those who only go with family on vacations, but going to Disneyland by myself has been a necessary part of my adulting practices over the years.  It’s a time when I can relax, go on the rides I want to go on without worrying about the needs of others, take my time to eat and people watch without making others feel anxious, and wait as long as I want for that character meet and greet without having others check their watch.

Please understand, my Disney family, I’m not saying that I do not enjoy going to DL with you!  I just went over Labor Day weekend with some wonderful friends and had an amazing time.  I will be going again over MLK Jr. weekend with some of the same wonderful friends and will have an amazing time again.  I enjoy going with my friends and family.  I am looking forward to taking my nephew soon.  I love going on rides with my friends.  I love having goofy and inane and super deep conversations with them while we wait in line for Space Mountain.  I cherish the memories I have of screaming at the top of our lungs together as we rescue the Guardians from the Collector.


Hiss!  He’s in the bushes…

It is a different experience when I Disney by myself.  In some ways it is more stressful because there is no one else there to help me figure out what I want to do next.  In many ways it is reveling to do exactly what I want to do when I want to do it without comprise.  “Hey, self, want to watch the Christmas parade?  Yes, yes I do.  There is a spot over there, let’s go stand there.”

I know many people don’t understand my obsession with Disney – cause let’s call a spade a spade! It’s definitely an obsession!  I’m sure they would understand my need to Disney by myself even less.  But I love the fact that I can stroll down Main Street without a care in the world and no one to answer to and do whatever I want when I want (within reason, of course!  It is still Disneyland!).  I love that I can ride Star Tours three times in a row and not worry that people are waiting for me.  I love that I can have my picture taken with any of the characters I want and not worry that my friends aren’t having fun.  Mostly, I love that I can just be me and enjoy my own company and not be afraid of what that means.

No Flash Photography Please

This needs to stop.  We’ve all been there: you’re on your favorite dark ride, enjoying the scary tunes of the Haunted Mansion when suddenly *FLASH* everything lights up for a few brief moments.  You look around because you know this ride and there are no sudden bright flashes of light.  Then it happens again and you spot them: two doombugies down is a mom happily snapping pictures of her darling bundle of joy on its first Disneyland ride.  Snap, flash, snap, flash, snap, flash.  “No flash pictures!” You want to yell.  Or do yell in my case, because, NO FLASH PICTURES.

I get it.  You want to capture every second of precious little prince’s or princess’s Disneyland experience.  Maybe you are going sans kids and want to capture all the magical memories of being at the happiest place on Earth.  But you are literally RUINING DISNEYLAND.

I’m not sure you understand the concept of a “dark ride”, so let me quote Wikipedia: “A dark ride or ghost train is an indoor amusement ride on which passengers aboard guided vehicles travel through specially lit scenes that typically contain animation, sound, music, and special effects” (italics added).The key part of a dark ride is that it is specially lit to make it seem more real, to create the correct atmosphere, and to give the rider a reason to suspend disbelief.  I know Indian Jones is not really hanging from a rope above my motor-vehical as a giant boulder comes rolling down a hill.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun pretending that it’s really him.  And when you click that little button or tap your little screen to get a *FLASH* you are ruining that moment for other people in the ride vehicle or in ride vehicles before and behind you.

Let’s say for a moment that you don’t care that you are literally ruining the experience for


Picture I took using flash in the Haunted Mansion queue-line (not on the actual ride yet).  I also immediately apologized to all around me for taking the picture.

at least 10 other people who also paid $295 for their 3-day park hopper ticket.  Let’s say that you are an entitled jerk who just has to have that picture on Pirates.  Your pictures will be crap when using a flash.  Case in point is the picture on the right.  I took that while in line of Haunted Mansion.  I was still in the queue, not on the actual ride yet, and I apologized to everyone around me once I finished.  If you know the Haunted Mansion, this staircase is at the very end of queue right before you board your doombugy.  Notice anything about that picture?  Cause I think it’s garbage.  It’s a crappy picture.  You can barely see the stair case, the cobwebs look dirty and there is some weird bug smear flying through it (I’m also sure this picture will later be used to “prove” there are real ghosts in the Haunted Mansion.  There are not.  That is a bug flying through the frame.)  Turns out that flash doesn’t work that well when the objects you are trying to take a picture of are farther away.  So not only are ruining other people’s experiences, you are getting crappy pictures too.


Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare picture taken without flash on my iPhone

I understand that you want to take pictures though.  And the good news is that you can!  JUST TURN OFF YOUR !@#$%^& FLASH!!!  I’m serious.  There are entire blogs about how to get great pictures on a dark ride without using your flash.  Here for example or here.  I’ve gotten some really fun pictures of dark rides with just my iPhone.  There are ways to use the lighting in the ride to your advantage and get that perfect picture that you can then upload to Facebook and make all your friends jealous.  Or, you can take a bunch of pictures outside the ride (I’ll even often to take one for you so you can be in it too) and just enjoy the ride experience.

But for the love of the mouse, stop ruining Disney with your flash photography.  It is against the rules for a reason.  You are destroying the magic for everyone else and the end result is a bad picture that doesn’t capture the moment anyway.

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