Ghoulishly Delightful Halloween Experiences at Tokyo Disney Resort (Part 1) 

There’s a chill in the air.  The leaves are changing colors.  Pumpkin spice is everywhere…. It’s Halloween time again.  See how Tokyo Disney Resort celebrates Halloween from our visit to Tokyo Disneyland  last season…

Americans have exported many things… and Halloween at Tokyo Disney Resort is one of them.

Not traditionally celebrated in Japan, Halloween at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea is a unique experience for visitors and locals alike.

Join us as we share our Halloween experiences at Tokyo Disneyland from last season in a two-part series, originally published on LaughingPlace.com

We will highlight Tokyo Disneyland in Part 1 of this article , and Tokyo DisneySea in Part 2.  There are many delightfully Disney similarities, but also some differences that may fascinate Disney fans.

This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com

No extra tickets needed. 

Unlike domestic Disney parks, there is no separately-ticketed event for Halloween celebrations.  Everything is included in the day-ticket price.  If you know the dates you want to visit Disneyland / DisneySea, it is advisable to purchase your tickets online ahead of time, as tickets are known to sell out for the parks.  Even annual passholders are not guaranteed entry when parks have reached capacity.

Halloween Decorations Welcome Guests

A beautiful floral Mickey-shaped Jack-o-lantern greets guests at the main entry to Disneyland, just outside the Grand Bazaar.  (The Grand Bazaar replaces Main Street USA, and is a covered shopping arcade).

This year’s theme for “Disney’s Halloween” was Halloween Music Festival.  The branding on merchandise does not specify Tokyo Disneyland, just “Disney’s Halloween.” Continue reading Ghoulishly Delightful Halloween Experiences at Tokyo Disney Resort (Part 1) 

“Once Upon a Time” Stirs Things Up at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

Just one more week until Once Upon a Time returns for Season 7 on ABC!  And just in case you missed the updates, here are my highlights from the stars and showrunners at San Diego Comic-Con.

This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com.

“Oncers” packed Ballroom 20 at San Diego Comic-Con on July 20th to see the stars of Once Upon a Time.  Yvette Nicole Brown returned as host, trying to get show creators (from right) Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, and writer/producer David H. Goodman to spill the beans about the upcoming Season 7.

Returning favorites included Colin O’Donoghue (Hook), Lana Parrilla (Regina), and Robert Carlyle (Mr. Gold / Rumpelstiltskin).  This year, we were introduced to three new characters: Cinderella (Dania Ramirez from Devious Maids), older Henry Mills (Andrew J. West from The Walking Dead), and Lady Tremaine (Gabrielle Anwar from Burn Notice and The Tudors).

The showrunners shared a gag reel from OUAT Season 6.

Season 7 Reboot

So, what happened at the end of Season 6?  Fans asked “Why?!”  Henry is grown up.  He has a daughter, Lucy (played by Alison Fernandez), and she has another story book.  Here is an exclusive SDCC Season 7 Trailer, including the Season 6 finale bombshell: Continue reading “Once Upon a Time” Stirs Things Up at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

“Once Upon a Time” Turns the Page at D23 Expo

Today, we celebrate the release of Once Upon a Time Season 6 on digital, DVD, and Blu-Ray by sharing our article teasing Season 7 coming this fall.

We were there for the UOAT panels at D23 and San Diego Comic-Con, and share them here in a two-part article.  This article was  originally featured on LaughingPlace.com on August 4, 2017.

Fans of Once Upon a Time streamed into the D23 Arena on July 15, 2017 to get the latest news on their favorite characters.  Show creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz sat down with host Jeffrey Epstein for this much-anticipated panel.

Ed Kitsis D23 panel

Season 6 Finale Bombshell

The Season 6 finale shattered norms that we had come to know as canon for Once Upon a Time (OUAT).

Why is there a new storybook?  How does adult Henry have a daughter he doesn’t remember (Lucy)? And who is her mother?  What happens to Emma, Snow, and Charming in Storybrooke?  There are so many unanswered questions, and fans are asking ‘why?!’ Continue reading “Once Upon a Time” Turns the Page at D23 Expo

How I Made a Cultural Connection at Epcot: My Italian Adventure

Epcot Sunset Over Spaceship Earth

When you think of Epcot, you may recall fragrant florals from the “Flower & Garden Festival.”  Or, perhaps, delectable dishes from the “Food & Wine Festival.” (I, too, love to ‘eat my way around the world.’)  Most of all, I enjoy Epcot as a gathering place to meet friendly cast members from various countries.  My last visit to Epcot’s Italy Pavilion did not disappoint.

Venice, Italy vs. Italy at Epcot

Through the years, I have come to love the “real” Italy, especially Venice.  Epcot’s Italy Pavilion transports me back to Venice every time.  Strolling through, I see architectural reminders of Saint Mark’s Square: the delicately intricate façade of the Doge’s Palace, and the Campanile (bell tower).

Italy Pavilion at Epcot – Detail of Doge’s Palace and Campanile

The entrance is guarded by two columns, topped with Venezia’s patron saints: Saint Mark’s Lion and Saint Theodore standing above a crocodile.  (Though Epcot’s version is actually reversed)

Admittedly, Disney puts a spin on their presentation of each country.  (Germany’s Bavarian region is famous for their large, scrumptious pretzels.  But they certainly are not Mickey-shaped, nor come with cheese dipping sauce.)

To their credit, though, Disney is committed to recruiting native cast members to represent their countries’ pavilions at Epcot, creating a more authentic experience. Continue reading How I Made a Cultural Connection at Epcot: My Italian Adventure

9 Things You Won’t Want to Miss at Disneyland Paris Resort

Good advice is worth its weight in gold, especially when you’re traveling.  Getting first-hand advice can save you time, ensure you don’t miss an essential moment, and help you make good decisions on how to spend your hard-earned vacation dollars.  This is especially true for specialty locations like Disneyland Paris.

Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2017 (the park opened as Euro Disney on April 12, 1992), making this the perfect year to enjoy the festivities.  The anniversary theme – “It’s Time to Sparkle!” – introduces new spectaculars to make your visit even more memorable.  You’ll want to be prepared, so you won’t miss a second of the magic.

Here are my top 9 things you definitely won’t want to miss – gained from experience as a DLP annual passholder.  Some are unique and found only at Disneyland Paris Resort.  Some are delightful variations of classic Disney attractions.  All are outstanding.

There are two parks at the Disneyland Paris Resort:  Disneyland Park, and the Walt Disney Studios (now celebrating its 10th Anniversary).  I divided this List into “family-friendly” and “wild side” features, with notations in which park they’re located.

This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com on April 10, 2017.  Continue reading 9 Things You Won’t Want to Miss at Disneyland Paris Resort

Christmas Magic to Enchant the Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood

"Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" - Universal Studios Hollywood
“Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” – Universal Studios Hollywood

It may be difficult to think of Christmas during this summer heat, but Universal Studios Hollywood has more magic in store at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Just two weeks after their announcement of the new “Nighttime Lights” projection show spectacular this summer (evoking memories of the grand opening of the Wizarding World just one year ago), Universal Studios Hollywood tops that with a Christmas show bound to delight.

The holidays at Hogwarts were pure magic in the original novels by J.K. Rowling.  The massive tree, the decorations in the Great Hall, the delectable treats, the Yule Ball.  How I wished I could have stepped into that world.

Now, Universal Studios Hollywood offers the next best thing.  Here’s a preview of “Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” Continue reading Christmas Magic to Enchant the Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood

Why You Need to Visit Disneyland Paris This Year

If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting Paris, and wished upon a star to walk through Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty Castle), this is the year to do it.  Disneyland Paris – the sparkling European jewel in the Disney crown – celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2017.  And they have been diligently preparing for you to ‘Be Our Guest.’

Park improvements progressed throughout 2016 to prepare for “It’s Time to Sparkle” the Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary celebration starting March 26, 2017.

This article was first published on LaughingPlace.com on April 7, 2017.

Troubled Beginnings

The path wasn’t always sprinkled with pixie dust.  “Euro Disney” – the fourth Disney castle Park – opened on April 12, 1992 to much controversy.  There were protests against this invasion of American culture in France, including a one-day train strike that effectively cut off the Disney resort to anyone without a car.

Continue reading Why You Need to Visit Disneyland Paris This Year

Spectacular Harry Potter “Nighttime Lights” this summer at Universal Studios Hollywood

"The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle" at "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" - Universal Studios Hollywood -- Hufflepuff house featured
“The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” at “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” – Universal Studios Hollywood — Hufflepuff house featured.  Photo: Mike Danenberg/Universal Studios Hollywood
Attention Harry Potter fans! Universal Studios Hollywood will enchant guests this summer with a brand-new experience at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle.”
 
Do you remember the grand opening of the Wizarding World at Universal Hollywood a year ago? John Williams mesmerized guests, conducting a full orchestra playing his themes from the Harry Potter films.  

I get goosebumps every time I hear John Williams’ score and see Hogwarts.

Continue reading Spectacular Harry Potter “Nighttime Lights” this summer at Universal Studios Hollywood

Disney Ufufy: The Newest Thing from Japan Since Tsum Tsum!

(Photo: DisneyStore.jp)
(Photo: DisneyStore.jp)

Spring reminds me of Easter and eggs.  Ufufy are new Disney characters from Japan that are pastel-colored bunches of joy that should bring a smile to your face.   If you love Tsum Tsum, check these out!

This article was originally published on LaughingPlace.com. 

Disney Store Japan launched their newest characters on November 3, 2016: “Ufufy.”  These Ufufy are next in the kawaii (cute) creations sold exclusively at Disney Stores in Japan.  And they certainly did not disappoint.

(Photo: DisneyStore.jp)

We were on hand at the Disney Store in Ikspiari (the shopping center at Tokyo Disney Resort) on release day (a Thursday), when the lines wrapped through the store to snag one of the first Ufufy.

Ufufy release day

Continue reading Disney Ufufy: The Newest Thing from Japan Since Tsum Tsum!

Reflections: 6 Pearls We Learned from the Creators of Disney’s Mulan

When the creative team of a Disney animated classic shows up and shares stories of how a film was made….it’s an unforgettable experience.  As an unadvertised treat, the creators of Disney’s Mulan surprised movie-goers at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood with an impromptu pre-screening panel discussion on January 26, 2017.

“Throwback Thursday” at the El Capitan offers the chance to see a Disney classic on the silver screen.  And in honor of Chinese New Year, the film was Mulan (1998).  Our ‘inside source’ for the panel discussion was director Tony Bancroft (@pumbaaguy1 on Twitter).

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Continue reading Reflections: 6 Pearls We Learned from the Creators of Disney’s Mulan

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