Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ratatouille: Remy's Adventure

'When we were planning our trip to Europe we knew Disneyland Paris was going to have to be on the itinerary. We never expected that we would be there during the grand opening of the new Ratatouille area. 

Despite the initial chaos of excited crowds, we were able to get on the new ride twice! Being very familiar with the North American parks, we can safely say that we have never seen anything like the Ratatouille ride in a Disney park. We have experienced rides in other theme parks that are similar in technology.

Tip: being a new ride, the crowds in the morning are crazy, creating a minimum 3 hour wait as most people line up for the ride. If you are lucky/clever, try and get a FastPass for later in the day. The line does tend to quiet down as the day goes on: it was only a 90 minute wait by 12:30. By 8:30 it was a 30 minute wait. 

The 3D ride takes you on an adventure through the eyes of a rat. Your adorable ride vehicle is one of Remy's rat friends.  Your adventure starts on the roof top of Gusteau's and then takes you on a full sensory adventure as you try to make it to Remy's restaurant. 




The regular queue area:






Entering the building:



The regular line and FastPass lines meet to see the rooftops of Paris. Listen closely, you may hear the sounds of Paris too!




Make sure you watch Gusteau; he may just surprise you. 

Don't forget your 3D glasses


And finally, the loading area:



As you exit the ride, you get a glimpse into Bistro Chez Remy:



Ratatouille: Remy's Adventure is a fun, delightful ride. It is a wonderful tribute to a movie that is near and dear to France. 

We look forward to what the Imagineers will do with this technology. 

Stay tuned for our experience at Bistro Chez Remy

Friday, January 31, 2014

Who is your favourite Disney couple?




With Valentine's Day a couple weeks away, we thought we would ask our fans who their favourite Disney couple is. Don't see your favourite couple? Share who your favourite couple is in our comments.

Picture courtesy of Disney Parks Blog http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/

Who is your favourite Disney couple?


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Magic of Disneyland Cast Members

It was a very busy October for me: a lot of travelling, fun times with family and friends and of course the magic of Disneyland.

On October 19, my stop in Disneyland was brief. But you don't have to spend a lot of time in Disneyland to be a part of the magic. Taking the opportunity to meet a friend in the park, I had no idea what a special moment I would bare witness to.

I won't say much more; I will leave it up to him to describe this truly beautiful and magical story. But here is what I will say: some of the best people work at Disneyland Resort. They are true of heart and really believe in the magic and legacy that Walt created and left behind.

Thank you Jason, for sharing this moment: The Power of Magic! (Amazing Disneyland Magical Moment Experience)

~ Melony

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

D23 Expo Tips




Photo from Disney Parks Blog http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/
Steph and I have been charter members of D23 since its inception in 2009. Since then we have gone to every Expo and Destination D in Anaheim. This year is no exception. We will be at the Expo from August 9-11, trying our best to make the most of our experience. We anticipate that the crowds will be larger this year as word of mouth is definitely spreading about what a fantastic event the D23 Expo is.

As we prepare for the Expo, we have gone over some tips that we have learnt from the previous 2 experiences and thought we should share them with our followers! This all began on Twitter but through recommendations from friends and followers, we have compiled our D23 Expo Tip list for a one stop reference guide. We hope you find it helpful.

Be sure to subscribe to our website so that you can get updates as we add more helpful tips to make your D23 Expo even better!

For full details about the D23 Expo and becoming a D23 member (which is free now!), visit https://d23.com/.

D23 Expo Tips
  1. Do not overplan your day. Narrow down your choices and enjoy!
  2. Don't expect to see everything. Unless you can clone yourself. Prioritize what is important to you and try to stick to your plan.
  3. Schedules can change. Get up to date schedules to avoid being surprised or disappointed. Here is the link for the D23 schedule: https://d23.com/d23-expo/schedule/friday-august-09-2013/
  4. Read D23's "Things to Know" https://d23.com/d23-expo/things-to-know/
  5. Make friends in line. You're going to be there for awhile so introduce yourself. We've met some wonderful friends this way!
  6. Bring a light sweater/hoodie as some of the presentation rooms can be quite cool with the blasting air conditioning
  7. Don't forget to enjoy and explore the show floor. There are a lot of great exhibits and hidden treasures to enjoy!
  8. Bring something to do while you are in line: a book, cards or a movie on your mobile device.
  9. D23 Expo - there's an app for that. Download the app through iTunes or Google Play. For more information, click here.
  10. Be nice to the cast members. Yes, this is a Disney event so we call them cast members. The cast members are working very hard to bring you the best experience possible so be patient with them and thank them for doing a fantastic job!
Have a tip? Add it in the comments area. We may even add it to our list!

If you are unable to attend the D23 Expo, follow us on Twitter (@mousewardbound) to join in on the fun. Not on Twitter? We are also on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MousewardBound?ref=hl. Check it out!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mulan and Everyday Heroes

Disney truth: until recently I had never seen Mulan. Not sure why, especially when one of my favourite Broadway star is the singing voice of Mulan: Lea Salonga. My first exposure to Mulan was at a parade during my first visit to Disneyland in 1998. I took a ton of pictures even though I had no idea about the story or the characters.









You would think this would have peaked my interest. But I came home from my first visit to Disneyland thankful for the memories I shared with my Mother and never gave Mulan a second thought - until last night. I really believe that I wasn't meant to watch this movie until now, because it truly resonated with me in more ways than I ever expected.

Recently my home city Calgary, along with most of beautiful Southern Alberta, was ravaged by devastating floods. Beautiful National Parks were torn apart. Towns were completely submerged. And the heart and soul of my city was completely flooded. I have worked in the downtown core since I was 16 and I had a sense that it was indestructible. When I woke up last Friday June 21, 2013 to pictures of the city that I grew up in fully submerged in water, I couldn't believe my eyes.

A flooded downtown Calgary is seen from a aerial view of the city Saturday, June 22, 2013. The two rivers that converge on the western Canadian city of Calgary are receding Saturday after floods devastated much of southern Alberta province, causing at least three deaths and forcing thousands to evacuate. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
How does this relate to Mulan? Mulan tells a story about a young women who defies all stereotypes and fights for who she is and what she believes in. But more importantly she fights for the people she loves and her country. Mulan is an everyday hero. I have watched as everyday heroes, just like Mulan, have revived and saved my city! My city has pulled together to show that we are all neighbours and that we will help each other no matter what our circumstances. I have learned that true heroes are the people who roll up their sleeves and get dirty to rip and tear apart a complete stranger's basement to save it from disintegrating. #DirtyisSexy!

After our first day of volunteering: my sister in-law Melanie (left) and myself (right)
Day 2: Team Lauzon! My sister in-law Melanie (left), my father in-law Gaetan (middle) and myself (right)
After a full day of volunteering: #DirtyisSexy
Although my neighbourhood was not directly affected by the floods, my city was and I wasn't going to just sit around and watch. I was one of the thousands who joined in to help. I am proud of my city and the people I have met over the last couple of days. I do not consider myself a hero, but I do know I am walking beside them.

The great group of volunteers that worked hard all day to gut a stranger's basement. Thank you all!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Star Wars Weekends

2012 proved to be a big year for The Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilms. In October of 2012, Lucasfilms became an official family member of The Walt Disney Company. The reaction from Star Wars' fans was mixed. But for Star Wars and Disney fans it only felt natural. Lucasfilms was already a strong force in the Disney parks: both Star Tours and Indiana Jones have rides and shows in both North American parks. Oh and let's not forget the epic Captain EO 3D spectacular.

Young Padawans visiting the parks grew up thinking Disney already owned these well-established franchises.

And for those familiar with Star Wars Weekends in Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios, the takeover of the Star Wars empire can only mean one thing: the awesome party just got more personal. We have been fortunate enough to attend Star Wars Weekends for the past two years. We can only imagine the energy that will be in the air this year. Although our plans to attend are still up in the air, if the force is with us, we will find a way. But for now, lets take a look back.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Every Mid-May to Mid-June, WDW's Hollywood Studios is turned over to Star Wars weekends (Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays only). If you are even the slightest Star Wars fan, you have to go check this out. Starting the moment you walk up to the entrance, it is evident there is a different force present.

Star Wars Weekend
Stormtroopers greet guests as they enter Hollywood Studios
There is so much to do and see at Star Wars Weekends, we thought we would narrow it down to our top five favourite things to do. We hope you enjoy our list and may the force be with you.

#5: Darth's Mall

Star Wars Weekend

Looking for a souvenir? There is a ton of special merchandise over at 'Darth's Mall'. A clever play on words, the mall is located in the backstage area behind Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. There is something for everyone: collectibles, pins, Vinylmations, toys, clothing (great items from Her Universe) and exclusive Star Wars Weekends items. Here is a sample of some of the treasure we found in previous years:

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Darth's Mall is also home to a Star Wars character meet and greet. Be prepared to wait a long time, but the pay off is worth it.

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend


For a sneak peek at this year's Star Wars Weekends merchandise, visit Disney Parks Blog.

#4: Star Wars Motorcade

Once a day during Star Wars Weekends, guests can see all of their favourite Star Wars characters, Disney characters in Star Wars costumes and Star Wars celebrities drive down Hollywood Boulevard. You will want to arrive early if you want a good spot to view the parade. And once the parade is done, make sure you head to the main stage at the end of Hollywood Boulevard where all the Star Wars charaters and celebrities gather to welcome everyone.

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend
Silly Goofy! You forgot your lightsaber! 
Star Wars Weekend

The parade includes cosplay fans from the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion - some of their costumes are really quite amazing. The following pictures are some of the highlights from these legions. For more pictures, see our Facebook page.

Keep in mind: these are Star Wars fans! There costumes are made by them - not Disney. Amazing!

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars celebrities are one of the highlights of Star Wars Weekends. The Star Wars Motorcade is a great way to see them all together without having to wait in line for an autograph.

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend
Ray Park (Darth Maul - Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace)

Star Wars Weekend
Andy Secombe (Watto - Star Wars Episodes I & II)
Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend
Dee Bradley Baker (Captain Rex - Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend
Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano - Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Star Wars Weekend
James Arnold Taylor (Obi -Wan Kenobi - Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

#3: Character Meet & Greets

Various meet and greets areas are set up throughout Hollywood Studios for guests to meet their favourite Star Wars characters. Star Wars characters also wander throughout the park and if you ask nicely, they may stop for a picture. But whatever you do, don't comment on a Stormtrooper's height.

Don't forget: there is a meet and greet area in Darth's Mall. See #5 for more details.


Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend
Only available through the Disney PhotoPass system
Star Wars Weekend
A Stormtrooper walks with a mini-Stormtrooper fan
Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend
An Ewok waits patiently for the next guest
Star Wars Weekend

Even the Disney characters get in the spirit and dress up as Star Wars characters. TIP: Be aware that they do rotate, so the character that is there when you get in line may not be the character you will meet. Ask a Cast Member what the rotation is and try your best to plan accordingly.

Star Wars Weekend
It seems that Donald isn't the only one who forgot his pants this time
Star Wars Weekend

We have more character pictures available on our Facebook page.

#2: Snig & Oopla's Hyperspace Hoopla

Star Wars Weekend

There are no words that can describe the evening show at Star Wars Weekends. It is the most ridonculous, hilarious, crazy, stupid, fun show we have ever seen. Shown nightly on the stage at the end of Hollywood Boulevard, this show draws a huge crowd full of repeat offenders and others who have heard about it and want to see it with their own eyes. 

Your intergalactic hosts are Snig & Oopla. Trying to keep the peace between the Dark Side and the Rebel Alliance, Snig & Oopla suggest a dance-off with the Star Wars stars. 

Star Wars Stars

Each side performs to the song of their choice featuring all of your favourite Star Wars characters. What ensues is a ton of hilarity. Here are some pictures and a couple of videos from both 2011 and 2012.

The Rebels

2011: You haven't lived until you have seen Chewbacca perform to "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns and Roses!

Star Wars Weekend
Chewbacca rockin' out with "Slash" Ewok
Star Wars Weekend

2012: Going with a more recent and very popular choice this year: "I'm Sexy and I Know it" by LMFAO

Star Wars Weekend

Warning: watching this video may cause abdominal pain from laughing so hard. May also cause a sore neck from shaking it in disbelief
 

 
The Dark Side

2011: Sticking with the rock theme this year, the Dark Side began with "Back in Black" by AC/DC

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

2012: We thought we saw everything, but nothing prepared us for the Emperor rapping to "Mamma Said Knock You Out" by L.L. Cool J

Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend

And to cap it off, Darth Vader (aka Anakin Skywalker) performed to "Smooth Criminal" by Alien Antfarm
 

 
At the end of all this ridonculous showmanship, the audience votes on their favourite performance. Depending on the crowd, this can vary from night to night. Don't be surprised if they get swayed to the Dark Side

#1: Star Wars Celebrities

Definitely a highlight for a lot of people is the opportunity to meet a cast member from the Star Wars movies. Guests can pick up a FastPass ticket for these autograph sessions at special FastPass booths just outside the main gates. Every weekend features different Star Wars celebrities so make sure you check the Disney Parks Blog for announcements and the time guides available at the gate.

The really great thing about the celebrities that are part of the Star Wars Weekends, is that they are huge Star Wars fans themselves. Ashley Eckstein is just as excited to be there as anyone else. And Ray Park is always wearing the newest Star Wars Weekend t-shirt.

TIP: Ray Park (aka Darth Maul) is VERY popular. If you want to see him, you will need to get a ticket well in advance of the park opening. We have heard people picking up passes as early as 5 am!

In 2012, we were fortunate enough to meet Andy Secombe; the voice of Watto from Star Wars Episodes I & II. He was very nice and took the time to have a brief chat with us. 

Watto from Stars Wars Episodes I & II
Star Wars Weekend
Andy Secombe - the voice of Watto

Bonus: Ray Park Presentation

Star Wars Weekend

If you get an opportunity and don't mind waiting in a long line (isn't that what you do at a Disney park anyways?), seeing Ray Park's presentation is well worth the wait, provided it is available when you go. He is a great presenter, performer and a true inspiration. Even Darth Maul couldn't help but ask for his autograph.

Star Wars Weekend
Ray Park signs Darth Maul's (princess!) autograph book
Star Wars Weekend

Star Wars Weekend
Ray Park shows off some of his moves to host James Arnold Taylor
Star Wars Weekend
Ray Park with some aspiring Padawans

For more pictures from our Star Wars Weekend adventures, visit our Facebook page.