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Magic Kingdom Moonlight Magic, A Report - February 2017
DisneyDan  Tuesday, April 4, 2017 8:30:17 AM
Hello everyone,

At the end of February we were fortunate enough to attend a special event at the Magic Kingdom held for DVC Members. Moonlight Magic was held on two separate nights from 10pm until 1am. Tickets were free for DVC members and up to five of their guests, however, you needed to book it in advance, and spaces were limited.   [ Read More... ]
Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon Weekend Trip Report, February 2017
DisneyDan  Wednesday, March 22, 2017 11:06:45 AM
Hello everyone,

Last month Jon and I, along with a very dear friend, took part in our first ever runDisney race weekend. We participated in all three races (5k, 10k and half marathon) at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World in Florida.

It's hard to even know where to begin describing this entire journey to you, since it wasn't at all like a normal trip. We didn't just go to the parks and happen to run through them like our lives depended on it - this was an altogether different experience. A journey that involved months of hard training, registrations, and bookings at precise moments to get what we wanted, and planning out strategies and coping mechanisms for running these events as a team, while making individual achievements.

We had known for a few months prior to booking that our goal was to be fit enough to want to complete a runDisney event, and when we booked the races last year, we had reached a point where we felt we could be ready in February to compete. The booking process itself was a challenge - as with everything with Disney these days - and we had to make several calls and enquiries to get what we wanted. They don't really make it very clear with regards to some aspects of it, if you have never done this before. So to that degree it was frustrating.

Months later still, and February finally arrived, and we were as ready as we were ever going to be!   [ Read More... ]
Walt Disney World February 2016 Trip Report
DisneyDan  Tuesday, March 22, 2016 1:59:50 PM
Hello everyone,

Last month we made a very brief trip down to Walt Disney World to check out some new offerings that were not going to be around for very long. We spent Valentine's weekend there, staying at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort, and managed to visit all four theme parks in two days.

Let's jump straight in, starting with Animal Kingdom, where it was Sweetheart Weekend (for Valentine's).   [ Read More... ]
Disneyland Paris February 2014 Photo Report and Updates, including Queue Lines, Hotel Characters and Cafe Mickey
DisneyDan  Friday, February 21, 2014 9:59:28 AM
Hello everyone,

If you had been following our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr this past weekend, you'll know that Jon and I were at Disneyland Paris (yes, again!) for the Valentine's weekend. While I do not make "trip reports" per se any more, I thought that this trip to DLP warranted some kind of round-up, especially since there have been some real positive changes there recently - as well as some not so positive ones! So, I'll be incorporating some recent news into my report as we go along.
First things first, hotels!

Disney's Hotel Cheyenne

We spent 5 days at the resort, staying on site at Disney's Hotel Cheyenne. Here's some photos I took of the Cheyenne during our stay.

View across the Rio Grande to the Cheyenne

Disney's Hotel Cheyenne

Tee Pees

Disney's Hotel Cheyenne

Disney's Hotel Cheyenne

Disney's Hotel Cheyenne

Hotel Characters

For those of you who are not aware, the Disney Hotels at Disneyland Paris have always featured morning meet 'n' greets with the Disney Characters. Each of the seven Disney properties feature a mixture of the Mickey and Friends VIPs and other characters that fit the hotel theme. For example, the Sequoia Lodge, which is forest themed and along similar lines to Wilderness Lodge at WDW, features Minnie and Goofy in cute ranger outfits, as well as the Pooh characters (since they are from the 100 Acre Wood).

Last week, much to the absolute horror of the Disneyland Paris fan community, Disneyland Paris decided that from November (3rd I believe, but it is subject to change) that the hotel characters would be cut! There has since been a massive outcry, but Disney have responded by saying that they want to alleviate the (apparent) impact that the crowding in the hotel lobbies creates, and instead want to offer something new to guests at the theme parks in the morning. Instead, from November, hotel guests will be able to have some brand new interactions with the Disney Characters in Town Square at Disneyland Park during Extra Magic Hours (EMH). We have heard all sorts of rumours, including one that the characters will be wearing PJ's, and another that it'll be a unique experience where guests will be able to join the characters as they "prepare the park for opening". Of course, all these things are subject to change and/or cancellation. I guess we shall see come November. The other thing that came out of this is the uncertainty surrounding the availability of EMH to Annual Pass Dream holders. Up until now, Dream passholders have always been able to access EMH without having to stay at a Disney Hotel, but come November, this could potentially change. We have heard that this will not be the case and that AP holders will
not lose this benefit, and I sincerely hope not, but I guess you never know.
I am incredibly sad that we will be losing hotel characters, regardless of what we get in exchange. The character meet 'n' greets at the hotels have been a big staple of an on site stay since, well, forever, and along with the cute, unique outfits they wear, it'll be a heavy loss indeed. Having said that, as of the moment, we have heard that guests staying in the Castle Club, Manhattan Club or Golden Forest Club at the Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Hotel New York and Disney's Sequoia Lodge will still have characters at their breakfasts, but again, this is subject to change, and is course limited to the guests who pay the premium of staying in those rooms.

Anyway, back on track and to this past trip, we made a point of ensuring that each morning we did the "hotel rounds" (as us and our character hunting friends like to call it) to ensure we got all the hotel characters before they disappear forever. We'll be doing the same in April and August when we are back in DLP, too.
This trip started on Valentine's Day itself, and true to DLP's form, they had some special character opportunities for the most romantic day of the year. At Disney's Hotel New York, Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy were greeting guests in special outfits, and Pluto made an appearance in his normal collar, too.

Meeting Mickey and Minnie in special outfits for Valentine's Day

Meeting Donald and Daisy in special outfits for Valentine's Day

Pluto

At Disney's Hotel Cheyenne, Mickey and Minnie were greeting guests in special costumes also, but sadly we only got to see Mickey. There was also heart balloons and heart shaped chocolates being given out for free.

Mickey wears a special outfit for Valentine's Day

Mickey wears a special outfit for Valentine's Day

Throughout the rest of the trip we visited the hotels in the mornings, and tried to grab whatever pictures we could. Here are just some of the characters we saw, including one that I am incredibly happy to have finally got - Mickey wearing his Indian headdress! I am especially happy that he was wearing this during our trip, as we had tried so many times before, and now the hotel characters are leaving, was worried I would never get to see it!

Fun with Ranger Goofy

Meeting Mickey

Goofy

Meeting Indian Chief Mickey!

Valentine's Day at the Disneyland Hotel

Valentine's festivities continued later in the day at the Disneyland Hotel, when Mickey and Minnie appeared in special Valentine's costumes alongside a very smart looking Goofy and Pluto at the hotel's afternoon Magical Moment, which was specially themed for the occasion (balloons and decorations accompanied a special soundtrack).

Valentine's Day Magical Moment

Valentine's Day Magical Moment

Valentine's Day Magical Moment

Valentine's Day Magical Moment

I want to point out that the Magical Moment has been another staple of the hotel character opportunities for a long time, and has often been a way of getting some really cool characters and characters wearing some very unique outfits. This will also be lost when the characters leave the hotels in November.

Later that evening there was a special meal at the hotel's California Grill restaurant, which featured the same characters as the Magical Moment.

Valentine's Day dinner at California Grill

Valentine's Day dinner at California Grill

Valentine's Day dinner at California Grill

Valentine's Day dinner at California Grill

Valentine's Day dinner at California Grill

Valentine's Day dinner at California Grill

I noticed that Goofy was also giving out special heart chocolates upstairs at the Castle Lounge, and had to get a picture...

Goofy has some heart chocolates for Valentine's Day

Magical Moments

The Magical Moments for the rest of the trip weren't quite so exciting as the Valentine's Day one, but it's always nice to see who appears anyway. I was happy to see the White Rabbit and Mr. Penguin appear on two separate days, as I love them! On Sunday, Peter and Wendy also appeared, since they were at the Brunch (which we'll talk about shortly), and the Magical Moment is just downstairs in the lobby an hour later.

Magical Moment

Magical Moment

Magical Moment

Magical Moment

Magical Moment

Magical Moment

Queue Lines and Character Greetings at Disneyland Park

One thing that we have always loved about Disneyland Paris is the variety of different characters that can pop up in random locations across the parks. Sometimes, admittedly, they don't always fit the theme of the area, but generally speaking, in the past there has been an excellent number of characters. Sadly, more recently, that trend has been in decline. For as long as anyone can remember, DLP have also been notoriously bad at organisation when it comes to character greetings. There has never really been a queueing system, or any real enforcement of control or order when characters come out. It often makes what should be an enjoyable experience quite infuriating, and is something that all character fans have frequently complained about. That is all until recently, when randomly at the start of this new year, DLP started enforcing queue lines at most character locations across the parks! At once a huge sigh of relief swept through the fan community as our wishes were finally granted! No pushing or shoving, no more random people in your photos, and nice orderly lines where you be guaranteed to meet the characters!

All this of course comes at a price. The recent decline in more random characters seems to have been exemplified by the now orderly way of doing things. "Set locations" with set greeting times are now the normal thing, with the same characters appearing at those locations daily. Sound familiar? Sounds like how the US have done things for a long time, right? There are still some random characters, but no where near as many as there used to be.

I think it's very sad indeed that the cool characters that used to appear randomly have had to be sacrificed because guests at the parks cannot behave themselves! Perhaps if people had been more polite to start with, we'd still get a lot more random pop up characters?

Nonetheless, it was wonderful (and I mean, really wonderful) to finally be able to meet some of our favourite characters at the parks knowing that we can stand in a line, have a nice clear shot with no other heads, elbows or small children in the shot, and have a proper interaction without being shoved out of the way by other guests. As you know, Jon and I adore DLP - it's our favourite place in the world - and to finally be able to have decent interactions and get good pictures of the characters was a huge relief. It made the trip go from being another good Disney trip, to being an amazing Disney trip.

So, here's a cavalcade of photos of all the fun we had at Disneyland Park with the characters this trip!

Darth Vader

Meeting Stitch

Ariel

Meeting Chip 'n' Dale

King Louie

Meeting Baloo

Meeting Jack Sparrow

Pluto

Daisy Duck

Wendy Darling

Characters arrive in Adventureland

Characters arrive in Adventureland

We were really happy to see Timon. He had been back in Africa for quite some time, and so it was great to see him back at DLP!

Timon

Rafiki

Meeting Rafiki and Timon

Meeting Rafiki and Timon

Meeting Goofy and Pluto

Chip 'n' Dale

Meeting Eeyore and Tigger

Meeting Pinocchio and Geppetto

Meeting Pinocchio and Geppetto

Suzy and Perla

Belle and Aurora

Meeting Minnie and Duffy

Character fun in Fantasyland

Character fun in Fantasyland

Character fun in Fantasyland

Meeting Donald Duck

The Mad Hatter

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum

Meeting Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Mr Smee

Anastasia and Drizella

Meeting Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Mr Smee

Goofy

Goofy

Meeting Mickey Mouse

Chip

Dale

Besides all of those characters, we also saw Alice and Pooh out, but didn't get to meet them, and of course Meet Mickey and the Princess Pavilion were open as usual, but we didn't stop by.

Disney Magic on Parade

Of course we watched the parade while we were there. Some floats are currently being refurbished, including the Mickey and Friends finale float, which meant those characters were walking along the ground, and Tinker Bell was missing. Please bear this in mind if you're planning a trip to the park soon.

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Magic on Parade

Disney Dreams!

No trip to DLP would be complete without several viewings of their spectacular nighttime show, Disney Dreams! The first couple of days we were there Second Star was under refurbishment, and I was surprised how little its absence actually impacted on the overall show. Having said that, it did return on our last night, and it really does add something to the show. I was happy we got to see it on our last night.

Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams!

Disney Dreams!

Queue Lines and Character Greetings at Walt Disney Studios Park

We did of course visit the Walt Disney Studios while we were at DLP, and although it can easily be ranked as the poorest of the Disney Parks around the world, we still enjoy visiting, and meeting all the cool characters they have over there. We were really happy to see that the new queue line system was also being enforced there, too, and managed to meet some of our favourite stars this trip, who previously we may have not bothered trying to meet simply because it would have been sheer chaos! Long live queue lines!

Here's some of the characters we met or saw walking around from the lunchtime "Stars 'n' Cars" sets:

Meeting Mulan

Gaston

Mary Poppins and Bert

Daisy Duck

Donald Duck

Cruella and The Queen

Meeting Lilo and Stitch

Jasmine

Ariel

Jessie

Remy and Emile

Mushu

Woody and Aladdin were also out, but we kept missing them!

At Disney Junior Live we stopped by to see Princess Sofia and Jake in their pre-show dance party.

Disney Junior

Disney Junior

Over at Toon Plaza, Mickey and Buzz were there as usual.

Mickey Mouse

Meeting Buzz Lightyear

The Neverland Brunch

During our trip, we attended one of our favourite meals - the Brunch at Inventions inside the Disneyland Hotel. For those who don't know, Inventions is the fabulous character dining location that constantly has different themes for its meals. This trip we were lucky to catch the Neverland Brunch, which is one of the more regular rotating themes.
As always, the food was excellent, and the characters were amazing!

Neverland Brunch

Neverland Brunch

Neverland Brunch

Neverland Brunch

Neverland Brunch

Neverland Brunch

Neverland Brunch

Neverland Brunch

You can check out more photos of the Neverland Brunch on its dedicated page, here.
For my recent in depth review of Inventions from breakfast to dinner and other brunch themes, you should check out my dedicated report, here.
For the dedicated Inventions page here at Character Central, click here.
For our popular, "official" forum topic about Inventions, click here.

Cafe Mickey

Cafe Mickey is a character dining location in Disney Village, and while we used to go quite frequently, it had been a long time since we had dined here. Our main reasons for the drop in visits to Cafe Mickey are that, one, we discovered the wonder of the Sunday Brunches at Inventions, and two, the characters at Cafe Mickey had gone from being very random to very static. In the past we had seen everyone from Scrooge McDuck, Robin Hood, Frollo and the Genie at Cafe Mickey, but for at least a year now it has nearly always been Mickey and Friends and one or two Pooh friends. While I don't have a problem with this, and it's great for young families, for Jon and I we always want more (especially when compared to the Brunch)!
Anyway, we thought it was about time that we dined here again, to see what had changed, what had improved, etc. I have to say that we were not disappointed. Despite the standard nature of the characters and their outfits, they were all very interactive and did not in the least seem tired having already greeted guests all day in the park! Tigger was especially awesome, and made us feel really special! The food was really good too, which I was pleased about, having recently heard some negative things. We enjoyed everything we ordered (and we ate a lot!), and have no complaints about our experience what so ever.
Here's some photos from the great time we had!

Dinner at Cafe Mickey

Dinner at Cafe Mickey

Dinner at Cafe Mickey

For more photos of Cafe Mickey, you can check out our dedicated Cafe Mickey page here at Character Central. It should be noted that the Cafe Mickey page needs updating to reflect our recent experience there, but I thought it was good to at least link to, so you can see it.

Everything Else

Of course, we spent a lot of time wandering around, taking photos like we usually do, and so I thought I'd finish up this report with some photos with other things we did, and some general shots I took around the resort this trip.

Disney's Hotel Santa Fe

Disney's Hotel Santa Fe

Wandering thru the Newport Bay Club

The parade as seen from the Castle Lounge

Cape Cod

Disney's Hotel Santa Fe

Disney's Hotel Santa Fe

Fantasyland

Cactus Band in Cowboy Cookout

Darth Vader chocolate tin!

Statue

Pizza Planet

If you have any questions or comments about anything in this report, be sure to post it on our forum topic, here.

If you're considering a trip to Disneyland Paris, you can check prices and availability on the official Disneyland Paris website, here. They have some great offers right now, including up to 30% off hotel and and park tickets, and kids under 12 go free!

Have a great weekend everyone,

Dan.

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