Showing posts with label characters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label characters. Show all posts

Monday, September 17, 2012

Characterpalooza at Hollywood Studios part 2

At Hollywood Studios there is an unadvertised character meet and greet - it's sort of an insider's secret.  And I am going to tell you how to get in on the action.  What has become known as "Characterpalooza" takes place at the Animation Studios - near the meet and greet for Sorcerer Mickey and the Animation class.  The timing of the event though, well that is a bit tricky.

Characterpalooza is completely tied to the Fantasmic schedule for the evening.

If Fantasmic starts at 6:30 or 7, there will be no Characterpalooza
If Fantasmic starts at 7:30, it will begin at 4:45 and last for about 20 minutes
If Fantasmic starts at 8:00 or later , it usually begins between 4:45 and 4:55 - and can last from 20 minutes to a little over an hour.  (This scenario also holds true on dates when there is no Fantasmic scheduled.)

As for which characters you might find - it's always a surprise! 

When we were there in the Spring, we met:





Mary Poppins:

Chip and Dale:

The interaction with Chip and Dale was fabulous.  Chip asked my older daughter to marry him - or at least to call him later.

And all of the above characters was in about 30 minutes (total time!!).

Another day, my oldest got to meet:

Pinocchio and Gepetto:

Chip and Dale again (no marriage proposals this time):

And Captain Hook with Mr. Smee:

(The above meetings took about 15 minutes total!).

You can check out my previous characterpalooza post to see some other characters we've met.

So...which character would you like to meet at the Characterpalooza??

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Meeting Tiana (from Princess and the Frog) in the Magic Kingdom

There is only one place to meet Princess Tiana from Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" - and that is in the Magic Kingdom.  Her spot is in a tucked away gazebo in Liberty Square (just behind the Christmas Shoppe - which is across from the Hall of Presidents).

My girls are usually not into characters - but they do like things that are hard to find - and like Merida, Tiana fits that bill.  Tiana is currently only available for meet and greets at her gazebo.  She does not meet at any other park.  She is not part of any princess meal.  So my girls decided that they needed to meet her.
When we got to her gazebo, she was not there - she was helping Big Daddy with the gumbo, but an attendant let us know that she'd be back in about 20 minutes - so we decided to wait.  The area is outside, but there are lots of trees and cool breezes, so even on this May day, it was quite pleasant.  However, do know that the trees are full of squawking birds - and we had a couple of close calls with "treasures" dropped from above!

About 5 minutes before Tiana was due to arrive, a photopass photographer came out to talk to those of us waiting in line.  He also did these cool magic shots:

He did ones of Madalyn, too - but it never showed up on our photopass (though you can't capture a magic shot on your own camera - taking pictures with your own camera is always a good idea!).

And then Tiana arrived!
She asked the girls where they were from - and they told her just outside Atlanta.  It was hilarious - Tiana and the girls spent the rest of their time talking about food from the Varsity!  

We had a great interaction with Tiana - and we'd love to meet her again when Naveen is with her (right now, he's only out at the Halloween and Christmas parties) - and maybe we'll bring her that hot dog the girls promised.

So...what about you?  Do you have a favorite Disney princess?  Is there a princess or character that has been hard for you to find?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Art of Animation: Taking a Drawing Class at Disney

Did you know that you could take a class at Disney and learn how to draw the characters? This Animation Academy is in Hollywood Studios.  The building is in the animation courtyard - with Disney Junior on one side and the Little Mermaid on the other.

The class is offered every half hour - but space is pretty limited (I think there is only room for about 50!) so get there early (and if it's raining - you might need to wait a bit).  And getting their early is actually quite nice.  There are some benches to relax on - it is air conditioned - and on the walls, you can watch animation in progress.  It's fun because you'll see the beginning of a drawing and you try and guess who it's going to be.

When you go into the room, you'll find rows of desks with stools to sit on.

At your desk, you'll find a sheet of paper with lighting under the sheet - and a pencil.

Note that the pencil has no eraser.  I love this - but it can sometimes be frustrating for children.  (One of the best things I ever did for my kids was to sign them up for a drawing class where they only used sharpies.  It taught them that there are no mistakes - and that you could incorporate anything into your drawing - like you meant for that "stray stroke" to be there all along!)  Your artist will explain that you draw lightly in the beginning and then go back and darken things in when you are happy with the shapes.

There are a number of different artists who run the classes - each with different styles.  We had one who didn't tell us who we were going to draw - and we had to guess as we went along - with the first person to guess correctly getting the artists drawing.

We've had quite a few who took polls in the class - finding out who has drawn before and what they drew - and trying to do something new/different.  One of my favorite artists is Corbie.

She is a great instructor and very encouraging.  And after I talked her into posing for these pictures of me, she generously shared her drawing of Flynn Rider with me.  Though my daughter stole it immediately.  Here is my daughter's drawing, my drawing, and Corbie's.  You can still see all of our guide lines in the drawings - but the image is still quite clear.  Love the caption "he's hot" - though I don't believe Corbie suggested that be added!

Another really good artist/instructor is Brian.  In his class last month, he told us we'd be drawing Phineas and Ferb.  We actually had people in the class who didn't know who they were!  As he was teaching, we had a constant stream of Phineas and Ferb triva questions which my girls adored.  And then he asked a triva question - with the prize being his own drawing - "What is Candace's boyfriend's first AND last name?"  And my girls were the only ones that knew the answer!  (What is the answer?  Umm...Jeremy - and the last name - they are not here to ask - but I think it's Johnson)  Here is Brian and Madalyn each showing off their drawings:

The drawing class is a must do activity for us at Hollywood Studios.  Actually, we usually do it more than once.  Here are some of my older daughter's drawings from the class (these are all hanging on her wall in her room!) - so you can see the array of possibilities:

So...what about you?  Have you ever taken the drawing class at Hollywood Studios?  Who would you like to learn how to draw?


Monday, June 18, 2012

Meeting Merida from Pixar's "Brave"

Welcome to day 2 of our celebration of the upcoming release of Pixar's new movie - "Brave."

Yesterday, I showed you a trailer for the movie plus the amazing sand sculpture at Epcot.

Today - we will talk about where you can meet the heroine - Merida.

She can only be found at the Magic Kingdom in the fairytale garden.  This is kinda tricky to find because it's not on the maps that you pick up at the parks!  If you are in the hub - walk on the spoke that is to the right of the castle, towards Fantasyland.  Merida's meet and greet is across from Cosmic Rays - to the left - and if you kept walking past it, you'd end up at the Tea Cups.

Merida meets intermittently all day.  At the entrance to the garden, you'll find a cast member who will control the number of guests that go in at one time.  The line itself forms beside the rose gardens and up towards the castle.

Once you are "in" - you'll find a large stone table in the middle of the area where your little ones can color while you continue to wait in line for them.  They can also try their hand at archery!

(Look at this cool action shot with my youngest - Madalyn - you can see the arrow flying! :-) )

And then finally, you can meet our heroine. 

There are photopass photographers stationed here - and you can add borders to your pictures if you get the photopass CD (below are your two options).

My only quibble with this location is the strong sun mixed with shadows - makes it difficult to get really good pictures.  Or perhaps our timing was just off.

So...what about you?  Would you or your children want to meet Merida?


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In search of Mickey Mouse

"I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse." ~ Walt Disney

Getting your picture taken with Mickey is a quintessential part of a Disney vacation - and there are lots of places where you can make this happen.

Your first option is at a Disney park.  Here is where you can find Mickey:

At Magic Kingdom, you can find Mickey at the Town Square Theatre - which is to the right just as you enter the park.  What's very cool about this location is that you can get a fastpass!

At Hollywood Studios, you can meet Mickey in his Sorcerer's apprentice garb in the Animation studio.  We have never met him here because the line has always been so very long.

At Epcot, you can meet Mickey at the Character Spot - this is in future world - just across from Innoventions (on the left as you walk towards Soarin).

And at Animal Kingdom, you can meet him at Camp Minnie-Mickey.  The key to this meet and greet is to time it just right before a Festival of the Lion King show lets out - you should be able to do your autographs and pictures with very little wait.

Your next option is to meet Mickey at a character meal.  This is my personal preference for most character meets - it can be pricey if you are not on a dining plan - but it can be a real time saver in the parks!  Here are the meals where you'll find Mickey:  Ohana (at the Polynesian) for breakfast; Chef Mickey's (at the Contemporary resort) for all breakfast and dinner; Tusker House (at Animal Kingdom) for breakfast and lunch; and the Garden Grill (at Epcot) for dinner.

I love seeing how my girls have grown up with Mickey.  The first picture was taken in September of 2007 (my girls are 6 and 9) at the Epcot character spot.

And the second was taken in June of 2012 - with my girls now 11 and 14 (look at how they've changed!!) - at Tusker House in the Animal Kingdom park.

If you'd like to see more Disney themed posts, please check out Deb's website - Focused on the Magic!

So...what about you?  Where is your favorite place to meet Mickey?  Do you prefer to meet at the parks or at a restaurant?


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

1900 Park Fare - A Dining Review

I have two daughters - 11 and 14.  They are not girly girls.  They are not into princesses.  And not into characters too much either.  However.  And this is a big however.  They LOVE villains.  They were thrilled when they got to meet the Evil Queen during characterpalooza at Hollywood studios.  In heaven meeting Cruella at the Halloween party.  And they were beside themselves in anticipation of meeting Lady Tremain and the step-sisters at 1900 Park Fare.

We arrived quite a bit early for our dinner reservation as I wanted some time to walk around the Grand Floridian resort.  I love the Victorian style - and the grandeur that you feel when walking around the grounds.

The girls had finally had enough of my exploring and we went to check in.  We had a very short wait in the lobby before we were buzzed to go back to our table.

If you'd like, you have the opportunity for a photographer to take a family picture in front of a mural - but we chose not to partake.  1900 Park Fare is divided into three sections - and we were in the middle section, right by the buffet.

We had a bit of time before the characters would make their way to our table, so we went to get our dinner.  I have heard lots of mixed reviews of the dinner here.  This is our second time for dinner (and we've done breakfast as well - completely different set of characters for breakfast!) - and we've always found it delicious.

Here are Katie's plate and my plate - no telling what Madalyn had on her plate :-)

(Katie's plate - clockwise from the top: pasta alfredo, sourdough bread, mashed red potatoes, strawberries, watermelon, sushi, caesar salad, and green beans)

(My plate - clockwise from the top: roll, mashed red potatoes, prime rib, pasta alfredo, and I wish I could remember what this was - I think chicken marsala - and it was INCREDIBLE!  I wish I had some right now! -- caesar salad - and in the middle seafood paella - also incredibly delicious!)

Shortly after starting on our dinner, we were visited by both Cinderella and Prince Charming.  They were both very sweet.  But I am not sure I understand why Charming needs a horrid wig.

 (photography tip: if the people you are photographing are standing up - you need to stand up, too.  No one looks good when the camera looks up from a seated position.  Note to self: follow photography tips from now on!)

Finally, the characters we were waiting for arrived!  First up was Lady Tremain.  She very much enjoyed hearing that we were having a girls night out and that we left my husband at home.

Next up was Anastasia.  She was most curious about Katie's t-shirt.  (It's from a web comic called Homestuck)  Katie told her it was a "hero of mind" shirt (not that I even know what that means!) - and so Anastasia asked if that meant she was a scholar.  Katie decided to wing it and just say "yes!"  Then Anastasia proceeded to tell Katie all about Drizella's problems with math and that she could really use a tutor.  Katie just ate it up!

About the time this was going on, Drizella was making her way around the dining room.  And she discovered a little girl that had brought a stuffed animal with her - a kitty.  Drizella put it on her head and LOUDLY yelled to Lady Tremain (who was in a completely different section of the restaurant!) that she wanted a kitty and would she please get her a kitty and that she really needed a kitty.  I think that my girls began to hyperventilate from laughter.

During the evening, there is an announcement that comes on stating that it is time for Charming and Cinderella to do a waltz.  They dance for a bit.  And then go and find a young prince/princess to dance with them.  Drizella and Anastasia dance too.  But it is definitely not waltzing.  More like hopping.  But they were hilarious - and their partners seemed to enjoy the fun.  We also watched a young pirate turn down Cindy and seek out Anastasia!

Finally we got to meet Drizella.  Katie told her that she heard she might need some help with math - so Drizella LOUDLY yells to Anastasia "DID YOU TELL HER THAT I NEED HELP WITH MATH.  THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SECRET!"  (Imagine this in the most screechiest voice possible)  Again, my girls were THRILLED with their encounters.

Anastasia managed to come by again - and Katie told her that we love villains.  Anastasia stayed true to character and wanted to know what we could be talking about.  So, Katie went another route explaining that they don't like princesses.  Anastasia agreed - saying that Cinderella must not be smart because she can only dance in a box and she talks to mice.

Overall, we loved our dinner here.  The food was wonderful.  The characters were top-notch.  Even if you have a princess lover, I think they will be thrilled by the interactions.

If you want to see more Disney pictures - be sure to go to Focused on the Magic!

So...what about you?  Do you love princesses or villains?  Have you entered for my very first giveaway yet?!