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Flashback Friday – Carnation Plaza Gardens

As many of you know, the Carnation Plaza Gardens hosted its last dance last weekend, as it is being closed and converted to a new Princess Meet and Greet area. I try to roll with the punches when it comes to Disneyland refurbishments. I know that everything wont stay the same forever, and while Im not a big fan of change in general, I understand that bringing fresh ideas and inspirations to the Parks is typically a good thing. I am, however, adamantly opposed to this refurb.

There are certain elements of Disneyland that make it distinctly, Walts Park. Unlike Disney World, Walt actually walked here, this was his playground. There is a sense of nostalgia and history present in Disneyland that no other Park can replicate. While I love Disney World, Disneyland just feels like going home to me. The Carnation Plaza Gardens is one of those elements that makes Disneyland uniquely beautiful.

Looking back on Disneyland TV specials, hosted by Walt himself, you can see what an integral part in theming that the Gardens played. From Date Nights to Dixieland bands, the stage and dance floor, tucked beside the castle, were the hotspots for nighttime entertainment for years after Disneylands inception. While many would argue that this type of venue is no longer relevant in an ElecTRONica age, spending a little time on a Saturday night watching swing dancers of all ages float around the dance floor makes a strong argument for the relevancy of this classic icon.

Despite my opinions to the contrary, the Carnation Plaza Gardens is now walled off and set for refurb, but the essence of this little piece of non-marketing driven magic lives on in memory as a reminder of Walts vision for a family theme park experience for children of all ages.



Thanks to Focused on the Magic for hosting the Disney Flashback Friday blog hop! Be sure to stop by and check out all of the great memories!


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Flashback Friday – Snow White’s Grotto


One of my favorite places in Disneyland to stop and soak in my magical surroundings is at Snow White’s Grotto. I love the story of eight marble figurines – seven dwarves and Snow White – showing up at the Walt Disney Studios from an anonymous artist in Italy. Did you know that all of the figures are actually the same size? Imagineers decided to force the illusion that Snow White was actually much larger by placing her on top of the waterfall and each of the dwarves lower down on the mountain… I think it just adds more to the charm.

When I was thumbing through old pictures for Flashback Friday, I was pleased to find this one and see that Snow Whites Grotto has always been a favorite place for a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of the Park.

The Disney Flashback Friday blog hop is hosted by Focused on the Magic. Be sure to stop by their site and check out all of the other great entries!


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Wordless Wednesday – Welcome May

Its time for another Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop, hosted by Focused on the Magic! This weeks theme is about finding your favorite shot to represent the month of May in our virtual Wordless Wednesday calendars. These performers in Mickeys Soundsational Parade look like the embodiment of spring to me, so I thought they were the perfect way to welcome May.




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Wordless Wednesday – In the Glow of the Castle

The Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop is hosted by Focused on the Magic. This weeks theme is Nature, so be sure to stop by the hop to check out all of the other wonderful images! This guy was basking in the warm reflection glistening off the castle moat… not a bad way to relax away the day.




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Disneyland Explorer App For iPad

I have to say that I have wanted an iPad for a long time and for lots of different reasons. However, (maybe not so) secretly, the biggest reason might have come after Disney released its free Disneyland Explorer app, exclusive to the iPad. So, when the big day came, I went directly home with my new iPad and downloaded the app… and I was definitely not disappointed!


Disneyland Explorer feels a lot like jumping in a Park map, especially if the Park map were animated and interactive. :) Scrolling from left to right across the screen, visitors can explore both Disneyland Resort Parks, land by land, as well as the three Resort hotels and Downtown Disney. Tap on a specific attraction for more details, which include pictures, video clips, and interactive games. You can watch everything from several early Mickey Mouse cartoons (albeit abbreviated versions), Walts Disneyland Dedication Speech, to the attraction preview video that plays in the Indiana Jones queue, and more.










While a few of the interactive elements are a bit basic, most are really exceptional. More than I would expect in free content in other app. Youll have the opportunity to soar above California; fly through a galaxy far, far away; try to snap a pic of that ever-elusive Yeti, even choreograph your own showing of the Disneyland Fireworks or World of Color! Several of the experiences even offer shareable content, so you can send a postcard to your friends from your adventure on Tatooine or email off the proof that the Abominable Snowman really does exist.










I really only have two small complaints about the app… First, and possibly bordering on obsessive, not all of the attractions feature their original soundtrack. For example, when you play the version of World of Color you have created, a generic piece of music plays that is neither from the show itself nor from the movies that are represented. Secondly, I wish that every Park experience was represented. I would like to be able to explore dining and shopping options, as well as an expanded entertainment selection. Hopefully, however, with a section dedicated to Cars Land, with a Coming Soon sign, features will be continually added to this already amazing app.


This app is definitely a must-have for any iPad toting Disney fans… and maybe even a reason to go out an get an iPad of your own! :D




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Pinning Disney – The Best of Disney on Pinterest 4/9-4/15

This weeks Pinning Disney is all about the Disney fan. From fan art, to image collections from super fans, Pinterest offers up a little bit of everything. One clever fan took an image of Rapunzel in awe of her new surroundings outside of her tower, and edited in a pair of Mouse Ears and a Sleeping Beauty Castle background… fabulous! Another work of fan art is simply breathtaking. Entitled All Around the Cathedral, the image depicts Mary Poppins looking at the beautiful cathedral snow globe from the Feed the Birds musical sequence in the movie. The final image is from Kevin Kidneys blog – the Disney collectibles artist. It depicts a by-gone era of Disneyland, when dapper dress and women in heels in the Park were the norm. Its accompanied by a fabulous article with more wonderful, vintage pictures.

*Please be sure to click on the links in the above text to visit the original sources for the images that appear below*




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Flashback Friday – Pirates and Pan


I love finding old pictures of characters that arent so common in the parks anymore… I love finding unusual character pics even more. So, when I found the negative for this picture of me and Mr. Smee with Peter Pan in the background, I knew it was perfect for todays Flashback Friday.

Maybe if I was able to spend more time in the Parks I would see obscure characters like Mr. Smee more often, but as it is, I dont ever remember seeing Mr. Smee again, outside of parades and shows. Perhaps, however, the more interesting facet of this picture is Peter Pan and his seeming non-compliance with the strict Disney dress code… Look closely and see if you can find what Im talking about… See it there on Peter Pans wrist? Yep, thats it, a bright green, wrist watch. Now, Ive seen Peter several time since this, but never with a watch. Not to mention the fact that I certainly dont remember Peter sporting the latest Rolex model in the classic cartoon. Haha, now I clearly wasnt very traumatized by the fact that Peter was using modern technologies while walking through the parks that day because I certainly didnt remember the incident. But when I discovered on the photo the other day, it certainly did make me chuckle! :D

Now, if anyone knows something different about Peter Pan costumes from the early 1990s I would love to know! Leave a comment below!

Thanks to Deb at Focused on the Magic for hosting the Disney Flashback Friday blog hop! Be sure to hop along and check out all of the great flashbacks!


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Wordless Wednesday – Adventures in Disneyland

Thanks once again to Focused on the Magic for hosting this weeks Disney Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop! This weeks theme is Adventure, and this picture struck me as the embodiment of Disney adventure… the mighty Matterhorn looming in the background as the sleek and retro Monorail races over Liquid Space. Be sure to stop by Focused on the Magic and check out all of the other adventurous images this week!




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Kingdom Keepers V: Shell Game

If youve been reading Rays of Disneyland for very long, you know that I am a huge fan of Ridley Pearson and his Kingdom Keepers series. The latest Kingdom Keepers installment came out last Tuesday and I had quickly motored through it.


In classic Kingdom Keepers form, Book Five, Shell Game, is a wild through the world of Disney from start to finish! The Kingdom Keeper heroes are now in high school and dealing with their fair share of growing pains when they arent engaged in a battle to save Disney Magic from being destroyed by the Villainous Overtakers. Pearson does a great job of sensitively introducing the perils of being a teenager, while staying true to the vision of the series.

I think this book does a great job of putting together all of the puzzle pieces that will finally be revealed, in their entirety, when the series concludes in Book Seven (slated for an April 2014 release). Plus, what could be more exciting than a grand adventure on the high seas, complete with Disney Villains in every shape and size?! That is exactly where the courageous Kingdom Keepers are are headed for the inaugural voyage of the Disney Dream, and a special Kingdom Keepers cruise to introduce the holographic tour guides to the Disney Cruise Line. A change of scenery is a great addition to the series as it opens up a proverbial Whole New World of places and spaces to take these characters. But, Disneyland fans never fear, rumor has it that, while the sixth book will continue on the Dream, the final battle for the Magic will supposedly take place in Walts original Magic Kingdom.

If you love the Kingdom Keepers books or would like to learn more, check out this awesome interview with Pearson. Oh, and get your copy of Kingdom Keepers V now! :D But be warned that the ending is a major cliffhanger and book six isnt due out until this time next year! Until then, enjoy reading this series again and again and again… well, maybe thats just me… ;) and also check out my previous post about other books in the series.






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Easter, Disney Style

Easter is definitely one of my favorite holidays. I love when the whole world awakens in spring and the flowers and trees come out of hiding again. I love the reason we celebrate and the joy that lives in my heart during the season. The only thing better than celebrating Easter is celebrating it at Disneyland.

A few years back, when my grandma was still able to travel with us, we had the amazing blessing of being able to spend Easter weekend in Disneyland. While the park doesn’t necessarily do anything special for the day, the Disneyland Hotel offers an absolutely amazing Easter buffet that was incomparable!

The theme for the event was Alice in Wonderland, so we spent Easter morning with a cavalcade of characters and a buffet spread that could have fed two or three third-world countries. It was such a wonderful day and afforded me some of my best Disney memories.

The divinely decorated ballroom was host to a sea of food and tables and some of the most wonderful Chocolate Easter eggs imaginable. I read a great blog post this year about the amazing chocolate eggs on display at the Grand Floridian in Walt Disney World and from the pictures that Ive seen, the eggs at the Disneyland Hotel were just as amazing.

If you ever get a chance to celebrate Easter – or any holiday for that matter – at Disneyland, I would definitely recommend it! And I hope all the Rays of Disneyland readers have an amazing Easter Sunday!

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