disneyland

Shanghai Disneyland in Calgary? A visit to F & D Scene Changes

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This weekend I was lucky enough to take a tour of F & D Scene Changes  as part of Doors Open Calgary, an annual event that gives the public access to places around the city they normally would not be allowed to visit. What is F & D Scene Changes you ask?  They are a company that creates “projects that range from scenery for theatre, television and film to theme park elements, museum exhibits, and trade show and retail displays.” They’re located right here in Calgary, behind the Stampede grounds in a gorgeous historical building and I had no idea they existed!

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Imagine my excitement to find out in my very own backyard that they work on set pieces, parade floats and other amazing projects for Disney Parks, Universal, Cirque Du Soleil and more. Everything from design, lighting, welding, sculpting, prototyping, the list goes on. Talk about a hidden gem in Calgary.

During our visit, our tour guide was not allowed give us many details or even mention the name of some of their clients, including their Florida Client. We figured out pretty quickly that was Disney. We got some insider access and saw them working on projects for what I assume was Shanghai Disneyland Resort, as well as a new mall called Tsawwassen Mills (very similar concept as Vaughan Mills or CrossIron Mills .

Based on all the Shanghai Disneyland concept art I’ve seen, I could pick out a few things that were clearly headed overseas to the park. One was a smaller parade vehicle that had hidden Mickey heads printed all over it, another was the giant tree (we’re talking 40-50 feet high) that I assume will be the centrepiece for the Tarzan Show.Tarzan Call of the Jungle Show

They were even working on some concepts for a project based on a very popular “cold & icy” movie…..I’ll let you figure out which one.
It was really interesting learning about how they take the idea and have to figure out a way to engineer it so it looks good, is safe and can survive in any situation possible. They consult with engineers on many projects to ensure people are safe when climb, ride, carry, hold and interact in any way with their pieces. An example was that if a performer passes out in the middle of the show on a tree branch, will the weight of two additional people be okay to climb out to assist them. In addition, are there enough hand holds for three people to safely climb out and back.

Due to the nature of the projects they work on, we were not allowed to take photos of anything in the works. I did however take a bunch of pictures of completed projects they had laid out in their main office. They helped with the Little Mermaid rides at Disneyland & Walt Disney World, Transformers at Universal Studios, tons of other Tokyo & Hong Kong Disney projects, Broadway. Calgary Stampede…The list goest on. It was an awesome tour and highly recommended if you ever have the chance.

Here are some pictures of past projects they have worked on, very impressive!

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Journey to D23 Expo!

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So excited to announce we are headed to the D23 Expo in Anaheim! It’s less than a month away. Stay tuned for updates on the most amazing Disney/Marvel/Lucasfilm/Pixer event on the planet!
We’ll also be checking out the Disneyland 60th Diamond Celebration. Fireworks, parades, attractions, food, shenanigans!
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We’re back baby!

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade is Sensational!

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We had the chance to finally catch this delightful parade at Disneyland over the summer, and we couldn’t be more impressed.

Here’s the official description from the Disneyland website:
Rhythmic beats hit the streets of Disneyland Park! The colorful Mickey’s Soundsational Parade arrives with a chorus of live musicians, dancers, catchy cadences, bold percussion, Disney Characters and whimsical floats that bring to life beloved melodies from classic Disney movies. Continue reading

Cars Land: The reviews are in!

Cars Land soft opened this past week (it officially opens June 15), and everything we’ve seen and heard says it’s a clear winner! This is Disney’s most immersive land ever, ranking close to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in detail and design. It’s another example of the continuing trend of Hyper-Themed Lands being added to parks. 

The entire Cars Land experience includes three new rides, exceptional and unique food offerings and some amazing merchandise options. Every detail from the movies has been included in the 12-acre hyper land. From the lighting, signs, landscaping, pathways and thousands of other details, this looks to be the best new area Disney has ever added to a park. Hopefully the trend will continue with New Fantasyland out in Orlando.  Make sure to check out the official Cars Land site, it’s a fantastic interactive experience.

Take a look at some of the pictures below, and be sure to click-through to Mice Age to read the full review at the end: Continue reading

Allergies……can we even THINK about traveling to Disney with them?

ABSOLUTELY!! I know that in today’s society, it seems as though Allergies are truly not the uncommon but the norm. That’s right, the norm. It is incredible to see the amount of studies conducted lately showing some pretty serious numbers. From the famous nut allergy in children to the substantial growth of the gluten allergy, everyone has to make revisions when it comes to menu’s. Walt Disney World is certainly no exception. They ARE actually THE exception to the rule, they treat allergies with the highest regard. But don’t take MY word for it. Go and see for yourself.

Now, since you have been reading my contributions week after week, I know that you have already sat down at that computer and did some pretty intense investigation. GOOD FOR YOU!! I am happy that I was the one that inspired such a task. You have looked up which Resort you wanted to stay at, you know all the things to pack, you even are thinking of jumping aboard the new Disney Cruise Lines’ ships and ready to hit the open seas. But alas, you have an allergy. Here’s a list of helpful advice for you:

  1. When booking your reservations for dining at 407-W-DINE after looking through the plethora of absolutely tasty locations, tell the reservations assistant that you HAVE AN ALLERGY!! This is important to start the ball rolling. Let them know, they have been trained for this type of situation, trust me. They are more than delighted to help you.
  2. When arriving at your restaurant of choice, check in and once sat, PLEASE TELL YOUR SERVER!!  There is nothing more frustrating for a server to have your guests FORGET TO MENTION YOU HAVE A SHELLFISH ALLERGY and you wonder up to the buffet in Boma and sit down to a scrumptious plate of food and wonder why your tongue is starting to swell. Listen, Walt Disney takes allergies SO seriously that a server can be REPRIMANDED for NOT including the allergy when inputting your orders. Trust me, I should know, I was also written up for it. 😉 I underline the word ALMOST too! Tell them, it is only going to help YOU in the end and we want you to have the best, safest and well…..most MAGICAL vacation ever.
  3. Once you have told your server, the chef is actually going to come out and speak to you. ( I told you they were serious didn’t I). Once the chef comes to the table, they will introduce themselves and go over the menu with you to explain options you may have and I can certainly tell you from my own personal experiences, they will even go so far as to CREATE your very own dish sometimes to help with your allergy. It is NEVER a BURDEN so please never think of it that way. You may have to wait a little longer for your food to be prepared, but that is just Disney ensuring all the precautions are being made to prepare and serve it in a healthy environment.
  4. When at a quick service location, you know the ones at the Park’s that are not a sit down experience, they will also have options, JUST ASK!! Prime example- my brothers and I all have Gluten allergies- I mean it DOES run in families right? 😉 Anyways, we were at Magic Kingdom last week and we were starving. It was well after 1:30 and we needed something to get us through till dinner and quickly because hey, there was a 3pm parade I HAD to attend. Anyways, we stopped at Cosmic Ray’s. This is a quick service location and we knew all we had to do was ask and someone would speak to us. As I mentioned above, the chef will come out, now normally when your making burgers, there really isn’t a need for a chef so you will normally have a Manager or Leader of some sort visit you. Extremely helpful and in a flash, we ordered grilled chicken sandwich’s on GF buns, they will even do french fries specifically for GF people so not to worry folks.
  5. Children have special needs and Disney is the first to ALWAYS PUT YOU FIRST!! I know there are always opportunities for bumps along the way but they are committed to making your experiences a magical one. The little ones have options as well. The chefs are actually very excited to come and talk to the little ones. They know that they are intimidating, heck when I first met our chef’s whilst working at Le Cellier in the Canadian Pavilion, I was TERRIFIED of them. They have all become quite close friends actually. They will get down on the kids level, chat with them, ask their names and what exactly they like to eat. Forget the broccoli and turnips, they can create MAGIC.


I hope that you also realize that Disney Cruise Lines has also been included into this mix. For example, my brothers are actually on the Inaugural Disney Fantasy cruise and with their Gluten allergy they are WELL taken care of. I have heard many times of them boarding and finding extra treats extended to them because they couldn’t eat things like chocolate chip cookies or breads. They have had plates of GF brownies stuck inside their cabin as they were out enjoying themselves and have returned to find their little treats. It makes a HUGE impact and I can tell you that I for one have been a several cruises and the servers and cast members have taken special care of me.
Here is a quick story, my brother’s were celebrating with a family that were entirely GF and there was a wedding anniversary during the cruise. It happened to fall on the day at Castaway Cay. What do you do? Stay on the ship because you can’t enjoy BBQ with everyone else? NO WAY!! The cast and chef’s had created a private and very special celebration for everyone. They specifically made everything GF for the entire bunch. Hamburgers and grilled chicken and brownies and everything you could think of for an afternoon BBQ feast.
Worrying about allergies should be the absolute last thing on your mind when you travel. As you have seen, Disney has taken ever avail accommodation to ensure your trip starts and finishes HEALTHY and HAPPY!! So, get going, Go have fun. EAT.
Now, please excuse me again, I have a wee reservation at California Grill with my friend chef Brian as seen above and I think he is going to create something fabulous for us for dinner and I think that we will go outside on the terrace to watch Wishes so I had better get going.

Until next time everybody…….TTFN

Movies & TV shows filmed in parks…Part 2

We received such a great response to our last post about movies & TV shows filmed in theme parks that we thought we’d dig up a few more. Apparently we missed quite a lot of them, so here is round two. Hopefully we don’t miss any others this time. In case we do please leave a comment or contact us here. Continue reading

Highlights for 2012 at Disneyland Resort

The year 2012 promises even more fun and adventure across the Disneyland Resort, with new experiences highlighted by the unveiling this summer of Cars Land, Carthay Circle Theatre and the Buena Vista Street entry into Disney California Adventure park. With these and other recent additions at both theme parks, guests of all ages will enjoy more magic than ever at Disneyland Resort, a premier, multi-day vacation destination in Southern California. Continue reading

Big Red's Disney Bootcamp: The Myth and Truth's of Hidden Mickey's

I am sure that you have heard about the mysterious Hidden Mickey’s. I also bet you have probably wondered what they actually are. There has even been, in recent years, an almost cult like following to find new ones throughout Disney Parks.

I can even admit that I even given into the obsession to find them. I have even purchased a copy of the very popular book by Mr. Steven Barrett to familiarize myself with the crazy sweeping the population. Wikipedia has even dedicated a page to the entire subject. There’s even an app for that!
Hidden Mickey Book Now, I cannot find dates when they started to create them, but what I can say is there are Hidden Mickey’s in the Snow White Movie so they have been around since 1937 when the movie was released. This is big business and is pretty fun trying to locate them. Look on rocks, bridles for the horses on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, every Resort, motion pictures, TV series, cruise lines. You name it, there most likely will be a Hidden Mickey somewhere.

Now, cheating as I have in the past, the book is very helpful for the beginner to get you familiar with them but once you have located a few yourself, it is so much fun running around trying to find others not listed in the books. However, I can with all certainty tell you that this has been going on for a very long time and everyone knows all about them. If you’re lucky, you can even ask a Cast Member wherever you may be and see if they know of any in that particular location. At our Canadian Pavilion, we can even tell you that if you look up, WAAAAAAAY UP on one of our totem poles, you will even see a Hidden Mickey if you look closely. It was even a special task for us in Le Cellier, the amazing Canadian steakhouse to create Hidden Mickey’s for our guests.

There are deliberate ones, like I just mentioned, but thousands of ones that have been secretly placed in some pretty incredible places. Snow White movie…….you see it? Ummmmm can you imagine a GIANT one in Hollywood Studio’s that can only be seen from the skies? (Note, this was before the giant Sorcerer Hat was added.)

How about in WISHES the nighttime spectacular fireworks high above?

Animal Kingdom Lodge towering over you whilst you check-in?
Maelstrom, Norway’s boat ride in EPCOT, while you wait in line?

Hollywood Studio’s………from the manhole covers on the ground to the front of most of the cars in the afternoon parades to the outside the buildings down Hollywood Boulevard, they are everywhere.

Even the Water Parks are getting into the act with splash pools and if you look at the lifeguard stands, you might find one in the least expected places and those, those are the most coveted ones. No matter where you go, what you’re watching, be on the look out for these hidden gems. It is a fun little game you can join in, it’s a FREEBIE and gives you something extra to do whilst waiting in a queue line somewhere. Don’t be surprised i[warning][/warning]f you find others walking around the Parks with a little book to assist them in hunting down the elusive Hidden Mickey.  Good luck locating your own.

Now, I have to go, I have an exciting day at Blizzard Beach Water Park ahead of me and I hear that there is a Hidden Mickey at Mt.Gushmore I need to find.
Until next time:
TTF

Tracey

24 full hours of magic at Disney Parks

One more day of magic....yes please!

Disney Parks guests can get the most out of February 29 when Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California celebrate Leap Year by keeping a theme park on each coast open for 24 hours of nonstop memory-making fun.

For the first time ever, both the Magic Kingdom Park and Disneyland Park will stay open for 24 hours straight as part of a bi-coastal salute called “One More Disney Day.” From 6 a.m., February 29 to 6 a.m., March 1, 2012, local time, guests can fill the extra day of leap year with a marathon of Disney magic and fun.*
And for 60 days straight – from Jan. 1, 2012 to Feb. 29, 2012 – a daily winner will be chosen in the “Disney Parks One More Disney Day Sweepstakes” to receive a Disney Parks vacation.  One entrant each day will win a vacation for four to make memories at either Disneyland Resort in California or Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.**
For the past year, Disney Parks has invited guests to “let the memories begin,” noted Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
“We’re honored that so many guests have shared their Disney memories with us as part of ‘Let the Memories Begin’, and I’m pleased to announce that the campaign will continue throughout 2012,” Staggs said. “To celebrate, for the first time ever, the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Parks will remain open for 24 hours on Leap Day, so that our guests can take advantage of every minute of their extra day to make memories with friends and family.”
In addition to the extra time, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California will feature a special offer:

  • Guests get one more day and night of memory making, free when they buy a 3-night/3-day non-discounted Walt Disney Travel Co. room and ticket package at select Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort hotels.  The package offer is good for arrivals most nights Feb. 26 – March 10, 2012 and must be booked by Jan. 31, 2012. ***

In 2011, Disney Parks has encouraged families to “Let the Memories Begin,” with guests celebrating their only-at-Disney memories by sharing their vacation stories, photos and videos online at DisneyParks.com/memories.
Guests can find out more information about other Disneyland Resort offers and tickets at www.disneyland.com and other Walt Disney World Resort hotel and ticket offers at www.disneyworld.com. Guests can find out more information about “One More Disney Day” and get official rules for the “Disney Parks One More Disney Day Sweepstakes” atwww.OneMoreDisneyDay.com.