Yay for the weekend! Yay for cats! We’re breaking into the top 10 today (sort of...you get #10 today), which is pretty exciting. Now, onto business as usual. Let's talk about some kittens today!
Oliver is what I like to call a Classic Cute Cat™. He’s so smol and I want to do everything I possibly can to protect him. This cat started a trend--SO many people started naming orange tabbies Oliver! And why wouldn’t they? He’s adorable! I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen Oliver & Company in YEARS, but even that can’t make me forget how awesome Oliver is. (Also, the movie is super 80s? And that’s really cool?)
Like Oliver, he’s also a kitten and I love him. (His backstory isn't quite as heart-wrenching as Oliver's is though, so I'm thankful for that.) This little guy is a better artist than I could ever hope to be and I know he’s going to do great things one day. He’s also a good big brother to Marie and Berlioz!
We made it to number 10! Woo! I had a hard time picking who I liked more between Berlioz and Toulouse, so I decided to put them right next to each other in the lineup. Berlioz is the youngest brother of Marie and Toulouse, and I want to protect him as well. (Who am I kidding, I want to protect them all.) He’s a very talented musician and, like his brother, I know he’s going to do great things one day.
Well, friends, I’ll see you next Saturday! You’re getting ever closer to finding out the identity of my number 1 cat!
We’re back--welcome to the weekend, everyone! We aren't in the top 10 yet (we're getting closer to it though), but these cats are still pretty PAW-some. I'm so sorry. I'll stop with the bad puns...for now. Enjoy these cool cats!
WHAT A CUTIE. Dinah is that perfect little greeting card cat you always see. Her fur is always groomed, she has very pretty eyes, and she’s even dressed up with that little bow of hers. I really wish Dinah had a bigger part in the movie, but we get the Cheshire Cat when we don’t have Dinah so I can deal with it. Also, if anyone knows of any cats who actually look like this please hit me up because I need one.
Kiara doesn’t get a lot of love and that makes me sad. She’s got some cool songs (cash me outside singing “Love Will Find a Way,” how bout dah) and she’s a pretty cool cat. Also, she pulls classic teenager moves (all that Romeo and Juliet nonsense) and I know we’ve all been there before. The Lion King II is my favorite of the Disney direct-to-video sequels and it needs some more love in general, but I think Kiara specifically needs a lot more love. (I haven't seen the new show The Lion Guard, but I'm pretty sure Kiara is in it and that makes me happy!)
13. Thomas O'Malley
Thomas O’Malley is the classic Reformed Player™ who found a girl that made him want to Change His Ways™. Thomas and Duchess are a super cute couple and I fully support them. Thomas is also, much like the band from The Aristocats, a very jammin’ cat and I can appreciate that. (Also, fun fact: when I typed "O'Malley" into this document, auto-correct tried to change it to "Alleyway.")
Well, it happened. I have been waiting for the live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast for two whole years since it was first announced. So was it everything it was cracked up to be? Does it, dare I say, hold a candle to the original 1991 animated film?
Now, here is where I would typically give a spoiler warning, but seeing as we’re all Disney fans here and this version is at times a shot-for-shot remake, I’m going to just go ahead and assuage your fears—there is nothing spoiled here that is not in the original film, and I will not get into any new material that the live action version expounds upon. Deal?
So before the last petal falls, let’s get going!
So far, the Disney Company has given us Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella, Pete’s Dragon, and The Jungle Book in terms of live action reboots, and we have plenty more on the way, including films for Cruella DeVil, Mulan, Mary Poppins, Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Christopher Robin, Lion King, the Sword in the Stone, Tinker Bell, Dumbo, Genie, Peter Pan, and Pinocchio, not to mention live action sequels to The Jungle Book 2 and Maleficent 2. So, as this formula of putting out live action versions of our animated childhoods becomes our lives for the next oh...hundred years, it becomes difficult consider the past and present versions and consider them separate entities each worthy of their own light. With a film as well done as the animated Beauty and the Beast though, it becomes nearly impossible. Director Bill Condon did not have an easy task adapting this work from its nearly flawless source material, but where deviations occur, they are sometimes successful and sometimes unnecessary.
I was honestly terrified that this movie was going to be an utter mess up until Maurice first encounters the cursed castle. While the opening number, “Belle,” was full of its expected pep and energy, the first act quickly lost steam. It straight up lifted text from 2015’s Cinderella adaptation in a moment between Belle and Maurice, contained some really strange editing decisions, and lacked direction for Emma Watson. It was making me ask, “Why would Disney want to tamper with the near-perfection that was the animated version?”
However, upon first encountering the castle, the movie quickly made a turn for the better. This cast is perhaps one of the finest ever assembled. At the head, we have Emma Watson, who is a passionate activist herself, had a lot of say in adapting Belle’s character for a contemporary audience. This included Belle being an inventor rather than Maurice, wearing boots instead of flats, and refusing to wear a corset with her famous yellow dress. Her supporting cast consists of Ewan McGregor, who nails Lumiere in his performance of “Be Our Guest,” and has fantastic chemistry with frenemy Cogsworth, played by Ian McKellan. Emma Thompson brings grace and beauty to Mrs. Potts, and Kevin Kline gives a tragic side to Belle’s father Maurice that is very touching. Luke Evans as Gaston is both terrifying and hilarious, and Josh Gad steals the show as Le Fou. These two have some incredible moments together, and their song, “Gaston” is actually a highlight of this film and, dare I say, might even be more of a showstopper than “Be Our Guest.”
Yeah, but don't let that inflate your ego too much, Gaston.
Originally, Bill Condon wanted the Beast to have practical makeup, meaning that Dan Stevens would wear prosthetics. When this wasn’t working, Condon conceded to making the Beast a CGI character. At times, the graphics on the Beast look underdeveloped, but for the most part, I was actually sitting in the theatre in utter shock at how the artists were able to capture Dan Steven’s unique mannerisms through the Beast’s graphics (don’t even get me started on dem blue eyes...). Alan Menken wrote a new song for the Beast called, “Evermore” that left me sobbing. Stevens is not a natural singer, but he really put his all into this song, whose structure is typical of a typical Menken power-ballad a la “Out There” from Hunchback or “Go the Distance” from Hercules. Between it, the climactic final battle, and the transformation scene which was directly lifted shot for shot from the movie, I was a weeping mess.
This movie is not without its flaws, but neither was the original, which was ridden with several large plot holes. This version, to its credit, attempts to fill these holes and provides even more historic context to France during the 18th century. However, in doing so, it also creates a completely unnecessary plotline about Belle’s mother and adds a new enchanted object which feels more like a cheap plot device than an interesting addition to the narrative.
...also, I have so many questions about Agathe.
All told, however, I was charmed by the finished product. I cried for most of the third act, lost my MIND at the final minute of the movie (GRR!!!!), laughed throughout, and actually found an answer to the question I asked before: “Why would Disney remake the animated classic?” The quick (and, sadly, very true answer) is money. It’s easier to repeat formulas that you know have worked with audiences in the past and make some quick money. However, that’s from the corporate side of things. The artists who spent years of their lives building, designing, rewriting, constructing, and finishing this film wanted to make something new and beautiful that could be enjoyed by a brand new generation of young Disney fans and also give original Beauty and the Beast fans the nostalgia of seeing it for the first time all over again. And for that effort, I am extremely grateful.
As I write this conclusion, I am listening to “You Came Back,” the score which precedes the transformation scene, and I have chills and have tears in my eyes. That’s Disney magic right there. That’s Beauty and the Beast.
Score: 4/5 Enchanted Roses
TIP: Not like I have to tell you this, Club 55 members, but go see this movie in theatres. The audience experience is what it’s all about, for anyone in the theatre with you will most assuredly be a Disney fan as well and will create an amazing viewing experience. There actually was cheering that happened in my theatre in key moments of the film and during the credits.
If you know me, you know my three favorite things are cats, Disney, and food. Today we’re going to talk about a mix of the latter two, Disney and food! More specifically, we’re going to discuss Disney parks food (AKA the reason I have no money).
When I go to Disney, I eat a lot of food. Like, a LOT. If I’m spending a full day at the parks, I’m getting at least two full meals and snack during the day. I’m here to bring you my tips and opinions (whether you want them or not) on what I like to order from the parks.
(Just to clarify, I will only be including food from the California parks, since those are the only two parks that I’ve visited!)
Snacks What I love: Let me tell you, I am a sucker for the Ghirardelli store. The Tortilla Factory was my FAVORITE place to go in California Adventure before they closed it, and I still miss it, but if I have to trade that in for chocolate??? I think I’ll manage. My favorite thing to order, as a known chocoholic, is the chocolate ice cream with milk chocolate hot fudge. It’s the perfect treat for a summer day (especially if you get a cup instead of a cone to prevent dripping!) because the ice cream cools the hot fudge off really quickly and you’re basically left with a chocolate shell. They’re also very generous with said hot fudge and there’s usually more than enough to scrape off the sides of the cup once you’ve finished the ice cream. The store also sells Ghirardelli chocolate squares in addition to ice cream, so if your sweet tooth is being especially vocal you can buy some extra sweets along with your sundae.
What I want to try: The last time I was in line to meet Captain America and Spiderman, I saw it. The food that will probably change my life, for better or worse. What is this food, you ask? Tater. Tot. Nachos. That’s right, folks, Disney has managed to find a new way to combine my two favorite foods, cheese and potatoes. These bad boys are available in Hollywood Land in the food truck right across from the heroes meet and greet!
Quick Service What I love: BOARDWALK PIZZA & PASTA. Even though I think their flatbread pizzas were far superior to anything else, I’ve forgiven them for discontinuing them. I’m really boring and only like cheese pizza, but I’m also really picky and only like *certain* cheese on my pizza, and Boardwalk delivers. It’s honestly just the same pizza as Pizza Port over in Disneyland (I’ll get to that later), which isn’t a bad thing. Unfortunately I can’t eat most of the pasta they serve at Boardwalk due to various allergies, but I’ve heard good things about it.
What I want to try: I’m interested in trying breakfast at Flo’s V8 Cafe in Cars Land. I’ve seen their lunch/dinner menu before and I wasn’t too excited about anything in particular on it, but sources say the breakfast at Flo’s is good. I’m always down for breakfast at any given moment, though, so I might be a little biased.
Bonus: I couldn’t write an article about Disney parks food without at least mentioning the Pacific Wharf Cafe (and the bakery). Not only do they give free bread samples, their restaurant is great too! Unfortunately their tomato soup in a bread bowl is only seasonal now, but it’s fantastic if you ever get a chance to try it and I think I can safely say that it’s my favorite thing to eat in California Adventure.
Sit-down Service What I love: Okay, confession time. The only sit-down service place I’ve been to in California Adventure is Ariel’s Grotto, and it’s been a LONG time. I don’t remember the food too well, but the atmosphere is so fun! I’ve only ever sat out on the patio at Ariel’s Grotto, which is great because I was visited by lots of Disney characters and lots of Disney ducks. (I have an obsession with the ducks of Disneyland, okay?) Also, and this is really going to show how long it’s been since I’ve eaten there, we sat out there before World of Color was a thing so Paradise Lagoon was still essentially a giant blue wave pool, which made the experience really fun because it felt like I was actually at the beach.
What I want to try: I would love to try Carthay Circle one day! I’ve walked inside briefly and I think the decor is beautiful, so I’m anxious to eat a meal there so I can take more of it in. Like I said, though, I'm a super picky eater and I'm worried that the food here will be a little too...fancy for my tastes. (There's no shame in ordering something off the kids menu though, right? ...right?)
Snacks What I love: There are two treats I love from Disneyland. The first is a chocolate Mickey cake pop, and the second is ice cream from a cart. (I know technically both of these could go on the list for California Adventure as well, but bear with me.) I don’t know what kind of Disney magic they use on the cake for their cake pops, but something keeps that cake super fresh and not dry at all. I don’t get a cake pop every time I go, so when I do get one I’m always amazed as to just how good they are. As for the ice cream, there are two that have my heart: Mickey Premium Bars (of course) and the Nestle Toll House cookie sandwiches. These are perfect on a summer’s day (or any day, really) when they’re so frozen that you can barely bite into them. They’ll last you awhile that way, which just means you have more time to enjoy them!
What I want to try: Okay, this is a bit of a bummer for me. I used to get the nachos from Troubadour Tavern back in Fantasyland (they used warm potato chips instead of tortilla chips), but they don’t have those anymore. Now they sell pretzel bites with cheese dip, which is great! I love pretzels with cheese! BUT I’m super allergic to something in the Mickey pretzels and I’m 99% sure that these pretzel bites are made with the same recipe, meaning no pretzel bites for Sydney. I’d love to try them if I could, though!
Quick service What I love: Bear with me here because I can’t choose just one! I have three favorite quick service restaurants and I want to gush about them all. I love Pizza Port, the Jolly Holiday, and the Hungry Bear. Pizza Port has been my dad’s and my favorite Disney restaurant to go to for as long as I can remember. I even put up with those weird couple years where they changed their pizza recipe and it was terrible. (I can assure you that it’s back to normal now and just as good as it used to be!) I highly recommend the cheese pizza, but you already knew that. I was there recently, though, and I found something new I’d like to try: pasta with chicken and cheese (I don’t know the exact name because I literally saw it on someone’s plate as they walked by and stared shamelessly in awe at it)! Jolly Holiday is a recent favorite for me. I actually just stopped in one night for some hot chocolate and a pastry, and I learned that they serve a tomato soup and grilled cheese combo. The next time I went back to the park, I decided to try it, and the rest, as they say, is history. It’s the perfect meal for a chilly night, especially while the parade is going by or the fireworks are going off. (Don’t let that stop you from trying it when it’s not cold out, though. It’s always good!) As for Hungry Bear, I really like their crispy chicken sandwiches. They used to serve them on a bun with whole grains on top that came with a side of sweet potatoes, but unfortunately they don’t do either of those anymore. The food is still great though, and I definitely recommend it! I’m also excited for the return of the Rivers of America so this restaurant can get some of its old atmosphere back. I love relaxing on the patio on a summer’s day, looking out at Tom Sawyer’s Island while the canoes and ships go by!
What I want to try: I’m excited to try food from the Red Rose Taverne before it switches back to Village Haus. I’m very interested in both the flatbread and the chicken sandwich that’s on the menu (especially considering the sandwich is served with pommes frites). I used to eat at Village Haus all the time as a kid, but they changed the menu awhile ago and I’ve only recently rediscovered the restaurant. I’ve walked through the Red Rose Taverne a couple times and I LOVE the decor they put up, so I can’t wait to eat a meal in there and get a chance to take more of it in! I was able to try the pommes frites and their waffle fries (highly highly HIGHLY recommend both!), but I didn't order a full meal so I'm anxious to go back and try one.
Sit-down Service What I love: I’ve recently fallen in love with Carnation Cafe. I’ve had both breakfast and lunch/dinner there, and both were equally amazing! For breakfast, you can’t go wrong with a Mickey Waffle. I hadn’t had one in about four years and I completely forgot just how good they are. I also HIGHLY recommend the cinnamon hot chocolate! For lunch/dinner, I got the fried chicken and I can safely say that it changed my life. It’s a lot of food--it comes with a few different sides--so I recommend sharing it (that’s what my dad and I did and there was plenty of food for each of us). Also, I mentioned my allergies earlier--Carnation Cafe is very accommodating for allergies (as are the other sit-down restaurants) and will give anyone with any sort of allergy at all a special allergy menu. I've been able to order off the regular menu as well after being given an allergy menu, so I think it kind of works on a case-by-case basis (so if you're nut- and seed-free like I am, you're still good to go on that fried chicken meal).
What I want to try: I want to get breakfast at the Plaza Inn sometime soon! I haven’t done a character breakfast in a lot of years, and what better way to do it than on Main Street? Granted, it would probably be the exact meal I’d get at Carnation, but why should that make a difference? Disney is all about the atmosphere and if I can enjoy a Mickey waffle while taking pictures with my favorite characters, then that’s what I want to do.
Well, friends, there’s my guide to Disney food! I hope this helps you decide where to eat the next time you’re in the parks, or at least informs you of some foods you didn’t know about. Have fun snacking!
None of the images used are mine! All were found on Google.
Sorry for the delay, folks! I wasn’t able to post last Saturday, so we’re lumping two days into this post. (That just means more cats!) I hope you all enjoyed the first installment of my Caturday countdown of the Disney cats. Here are the next six cats in the countdown--we’ll be breaking into the top 20 today.
Also, I guess I should clarify--all of the cats on my list are from their original films, not the live-action remakes of the films! Some of them would’ve ranked differently and it would’ve been a confusing time for us all, so I’m only discussing the cats in the context of the original films they appeared in.
So as I mentioned last week, I was never really a Jungle Book kid growing up. Bagheera’s really chill and nice, but...I don’t know him. I’d probably hang out with him if asked, though, seeing as he doesn’t try to kill humans and all that jazz.
Okay here’s the thing, friends. I’m sick--so sick--of cats always being the bad guys in movies. Cats mind their own business. They don’t have time to be antagonists to LITERAL HUMANS because they have their own agendas, okay? Also, why does Cinderella let herself get bullied by a cat? I digress. Lucifer deserved better but he’s stuck being a villain so he’s stuck towards the bottom of my list.
19. The cat band from The Aristocats
On my notes for this post I just wrote “jammin cats through and through” for these guys, and I think that kind of sums them up perfectly. They quite literally rock, because their song is rad. Yes, Aristocats. I do in fact want to be a cat because a cat's the only cat who knows where it's at. Also, I’ll obviously have more Aristocats characters on this list because it’s a cat countdown, but I’d just like to take a moment right now to formally thank the film for making cats the heroes for once. Good on you.
She’s not a huge part of The Lion King, but she’s still pretty rad. She was always a good mom to Simba, and she was loyal to Mufasa and her pride. She didn’t want anything to do with Scar and honestly? The pride should’ve made her their official leader after Mufasa died. (I don’t care if that’s not how it works in real life--this is an animated movie about talking animals.)
I’m sorry he’s so low on my list. I know. I was a HUGE fan of Winnie the Pooh growing up (alright...I still am), but Pooh and Piglet were always my faves. I never disliked Tigger but he wasn’t on the top of my list either. He’s very cute and very fun, though. Also, his song is delightful. 12/10, would sing along again. Tiggers are indeed wonderful things!
16. Cheshire Cat
Once again, sorry he’s not higher on the list. I love his color scheme--I am the queen of pink and purple--and I love that he’s voiced by Winnie the Pooh. I’ll admit, if I were in Alice’s position and he pulled the same stuff with me as he does with her, I’d be a little frustrated. But he’s still a cat, so I’d probably get over it. Also, I love all the merchandise they have for him at the parks. He may not be my favorite Disney cat, but he’s still a Disney cat who’s getting love and that’s pretty cool!
Well, that’s our list for this week! I’ll see you all next Saturday (I promise this time) for the next three cats on the list!
Hi, friends, it’s me again, back with another appreciation post. On this #ManCrushMonday we’ll be discussing the love of my life, one William “Will” Turner, Jr.
I’m going to be perfectly honest with you, I think Will Turner was my first crush, like...ever. I don’t have a lot of memories of seeing Pirates of the Caribbean when it first came out, but I do remember loving Will and being upset that not many other people did. (Don’t get me wrong--Captain Jack Sparrow is amazing and I love him too, but with Will is where my heart truly lies.) Let’s take a look at some of Will’s best moments, in no particular order, and discuss why he’s sogreat!
1. “That’s not good enough!”
Ah yes, my pals. The first moment I have to discuss is the iconic “that’s not good enough” scene. If you don’t love someone enough to slam an axe down and scream into another attractive man’s face, do you even love them at all? I’m pretty sure I snapchat this scene every time I watch this movie because it’s wonderful and I need others to see it (as if they haven’t seen it already…).
2. HIS PUPPY EYES
I am WEAK. Every time I see this movie and he pulls that nonsense, I just want to hug him and tell him it will all be okay. (Well...at least until the third movie. I’m so sorry, I’ll see myself out.) I don’t know how he did it, but Orlando Bloom has mastered the art of the puppy eyes. Teach me your ways, sir. Teach me your ways.
3. His loyalty
Okay. Will Turner spends three movies dealing with crazy stuff that no person should have to deal with, all because he loves Elizabeth Swann. (Can you blame him, though? She’s great. She’s going to get an appreciation post too, I promise.) He literally goes to the ends of the earth for her, and then he (SPOILER) literally dies for her. This is actually foreshadowed in the very first movie (see the above gif!) and I cry every time I think about it. And for a good portion of the third movie, he did all this for her even though HE THOUGHT SHE LOVED SOMEONE ELSE. I need me a man like that.
4. Very skilled fighter
My roommate--whose knowledge of the Pirates series is superior to mine--informed me that it’s been #confirmed that Will is the best swordsman in the series. THAT’S PRETTY RAD. In the first movie, we have him in his element: the blacksmith shop. He’s able to use his surroundings to his advantage, but he doesn’t need to because he’s good enough without all that to hold his own against a pirate. Then, in the second film, he literally fights on top of a giant moving wheel??? Who is he??? Normally I say “fight me” when people insult my favorite characters, but clearly Will doesn’t need anyone to fight on his behalf.
5. Honestly super romantic???
A wedding in the middle of a maelstrom, surrounded by bloodthirsty fish men should not be romantic, but here we are. In my notes for this post, this is what I have exactly: "((talk more about it when you’re in an environment where you can openly cry about it))." And you know what? I don't need to elaborate. That line sums up exactly how I feel about this scene. You know what I will do, though? Continue crying over this scene for the rest of my life, bye.
Also, I will gladly allow Will to bandage any paper cut I may receive as long as he’s going to look at me like that. ∧∧∧
6. Style icon
Need I say more?
Well, my dudes, that wraps up this #ManCrushMonday post. I have many, many more reasons as to why Will is my one true love, but we’d be here all day if I listed them all. Thanks for reading! As usual, the gifs are not mine.
Hello, class. My name is Professor Johnson and today I will be teaching you a step by step guide in expert celebrity sleuthing (SLEUTHING, not stalking! There’s a fine line in the difference between the two, and we’ll cover that in a later lesson!).
Celebrities—they’re just like us except they have way more money, they need security, they have entourages of people following them around, their appearances are constantly being judged, they live in the public light, every word they say gets documented in video or text form, they have fan clubs dedicated to them...
...okay, comment rescinded. Celebrities—they’re nothing like us.
But one similarity between many celebrities and Club 55 members is that they love going to The Happiest Place on Earth! I myself have encountered a grand total of eleven celebrities in Disneyland. Finding a celebrity in the Park requires a certain skill set: a mastery of social media, crowd scanning abilities, quick pace, a knowledge of park layout and key attraction points, and a great deal of luck. Let’s start with the first lesson!
Lesson 1: How to Find Out about Celebrity Presence in the Parks
"What's the sitch?"
I find out that celebrities are in the park 90% of the time via social media. This is through Twitter @DisneylandStars and Instagram through @DisneylandCelebrities and @DisneylandCelebs. When I was a novice sleuth, I relied on Instagram only, and the two accounts I used were very different. It seems like the latter of these two newer accounts I listed is used and updated far more than the former. If you find a celebrity out of the blue, you can send your photo proof to these accounts and they will post them to let other sleuths out there know!
Furthermore, if you know a celebrity is in the park, search their name on Twitter or Instagram and look at the latest posts about them. Sometimes, you can figure out a star’s location based on other sightings.
Sometimes, there will be a surprise event happening in the parks that celebrities will arrive to, such as the unannounced Tomorrowland red carpet premiere in Downtown Disney where I saw George Clooney and the cast, or a filming for some sort of television special. Other times, you’ll hear about celebrities via word of mouth. But the vast majority of the time, you will simply be in the right place in the right time and will happen upon a celeb entirely by chance! You never know!
Lesson 2: Key Times for Celebrity Visits
Off peak season during the winter months used to be the best time for celebrities to go to Disneyland, simply because of the lack of crowds and therefore the less chance to be recognized. Now with Disneyland’s recently implemented surge pricing, even the off season is still very busy. The more crowded the park is, the less likely celebrities will be there.
For example, only a few days ago, Emma Watson and Dan Stevens from the upcoming Beauty and the Beast live action reboot were seen in the park. Two years ago, if they were coming at this time, a Friday in early March, it would be incredibly likely that I would have found them. However, with surge pricing, the park was at near capacity that day, and therefore it was nearly impossible to find either of them. Every time of the year is pretty fair game now, except I usually see a dip in celebrity presence during in the always busy and always sweltering summer months.
Also look for upcoming important premieres or special events to gauge celebrities who might make a presence in the parks. For example, after Beauty and the Beast made its premiere in Los Angeles, the next day was when Stevens and Watson came to Disneyland. During the D23 Expo every other year during the summer is also a key time that draws a lot of celebrities who attend the convention to walk across the street and go to the parks. I spotted Lily James and Richard Madden from the live action Cinderella took photos in front of the castle during an Annual Passholder night in the park, when the park had significantly lower attendance.
In terms of time of day when celebrities arrive, you will most assuredly find them during the day time. Not only are they easier to spot in the daylight, but more often than not, the celebrity will make a day trip and will be gone by the evening.
Lesson 3: Park Layout
Here’s a few things to keep in mind about the area you’ll be scouring.
Disneyland has an unseen area where Cast Members traverse, go on break, move goods, and load in equipment called, “Backstage.” There are many entrances and exits in these areas, which I’m sure you have seen marked with signs reading, “Cast Members Only.” Backstage areas can also be used to move celebrities. The less lag time between attractions, the less likely it is for a celebrity to be noticed by fans passing by. So the more famous the celeb you’re hunting for is, the more likely that they are going to use the Backstage pathways.
The main entrances and exits that I have seen used by celebrities are By the Rancho del Zocalo, by the New Orleans Square train station, by Coke Corner, and by the Plaza Inn bathrooms bordering Tomorrowland. Don’t spend too much time looking on Main Street, as many times celebrities will bypass it altogether using the Backstage.
Also consider key attractions that your celebrity might flock to. The most popular spots I have noticed that the most popular locations inside Disneyland are the castle, Pirates, and Fantasyland in general. In Downtown Disney, the Grand Californian is the finest hotel in the area, and is the most likely place for celebrities to be staying if they are visiting for several days. Sometimes, you can find one hanging in the Grand Californian lobby. California Adventure is pretty random. There are still Backstage areas, but as the park is more spread out, celebs can really be anywhere at any time.
Lesson 4: Plaids
The easiest way to find a celebrity is by honing what I like to call your “Plaid Radar.” Many celebs will utilize Cast Member guidance around the park from Guest Services. These are the Cast Members (or, as I call them, “Plaids”) you see wearing brightly colored red plaid vests and carrying black satchels. The Plaid is responsible for guiding the celebrity safely throughout the Park, backstage, and make sure that all interactions with other guests are safe and friendly.
Keep your eyes peeled for these guys every time you’re in the park! You never know who they may be leading around!
Lesson 5: Etiquette
Here's how not to be a Bimbette!
Okay, here’s the most important lesson, folks, because I want to keep you, the celebrity, and their family all safe and happy while at the Disneyland Resort; Yes, using a variety of tactics to locate a single person is also the textbook definition of stalking. HOWEVER, Disneyland Celebrity Sleuthing is NOT stalking, and we’re going to make sure that there’s a clear difference between the two based on following a certain etiquette:
Know your celebrity: Do they take pictures with fans? For Emma Watson, the answer is never. Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo will often, but not when he’s with his kids.
A rule of thumb I use: Don’t take a photo with them (meaning a surprise selfie) unless they invite you to do so. For example, the one photo I have with a celebrity a friend and I found at Disneyland, Zachary Levi, the voice of Tangled’s Flynn Rider, invited us to jump in a photo with him. Pirates of the Caribbean’s Orlando Bloom will just straight up stand outside of the Pirates attraction and wait for people to recognize him!
If they said no...
If they refuse to talk with you or take a picture with you, don’t speak ill of them or fight their wishes. 1) It will most likely end in you getting thrown out of the park. 2) They’re not here to gratify you, they’re here to gratify themselves. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you want everyone in Disneyland stopping you from getting to your preferred destination in the park every few steps?
If you do find them...
Don’t continue to follow them once you find them. That really is stalking, and it’s not okay. Also, don’t chase them, draw attention to them, or shriek at them: At the end of the day, celebrities are like us in that they’re human beings. They just want to have a good time. Don’t make a scene and ruin their vacation.
Here’s another rule of thumb I use: I never approach a celebrity if they’re with their kids. That means that the celebrity is there for their kids. I let them have their time together as a family.
Keep it short and sweet. Be ready:
When sleuthing, keep your phone in hand, ready to turn on the camera if need be. Speed is everything, as your celebrity might just keep walking if you interact with them. To make the moment as quick as possible and still be heard by your celebrity, think of one brief sentence that you can quickly say to them that will get your point across.
If I encountered Dan Stevens (the Beast) in the park the other day, I was ready to say, “I’m so sorry to bother you, sir, but I just wanted to say that you’re great at what you do and I appreciate your work. Have a great day!”
A friend of mine saw Once Upon a Time actress Jennifer Morrison in California Adventure while in line for California Screamin’. He knew she was getting bombarded by OUAT fans, so he decided to reference a lesser film role of hers. “I loved you in Star Trek!” he cried. She turned and looked at him and laughed, and later found him in Disneyland, thanking him for the comment.
It doesn’t even need to be a sentence. For the life of me, when I saw Lily James from Cinderella, I could NOT remember her name! All I could think of was her character’s name from Downton Abbey. “LADY ROSE!” I cried. She spun around and looked straight at me and smiled.
It doesn’t even have to be verbal! Sometimes, just a look is enough! James Franco passed by me and a friend and filmed us on his phone camera as he passed by. We didn’t say a word! One time, I was passing over the Pirates bridge and I spotted John Stamos walking in the opposite direction towards me. Me, him and his Plaid were the only people on the bridge, so he turned his head away from me when he saw me see him, as to not be recognized. Finally, when I wouldn’t break my gaze, he turned and looked at me at the last minute before he passed, so I just smiled at him and kept walking. He smiled back! Sometimes, words aren’t even necessary.
Final rule of thumb: Refer to them formally.
A Disneyland Cast Member once told me about a time she was working one of the Pirates of the Caribbean red carpets in Disneyland. She was in the back of the crowd on Main Street to make sure the fans would remain at bay. She was so excited to see Johnny Depp, however, that she couldn’t help but call out, “MR. DEPP!” Her voice rang out over the screams of the other fans, and especially the yells of just, “JOHNNY!” Depp, hearing her, then approached the fence where she stood, reached over the crowd to shake her hand personally. Moral of the story? Being a little formal is never a bad thing.
Finding a celebrity in Disneyland is not easy. The majority of the time, you will not be able to locate them. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack, except the needle has legs. You could be in one area of the park while they are in another, they could be on an attraction as you hunt for them, they could be in another park entirely, or maybe they literally passed you and you had no idea (which is what happened with me and Emma Watson the other day. RIP me). I have gone on four sleuthing missions and was successful only once. The remaining nine encounters were by sheer happenstance only, as I was in the right place at the right time. So don’t get discouraged! Celebrity hunting is a difficult task, but it’s just another factor making Disneyland a fun, magical place when you do happen upon someone famous!
Go forth, my pupils! Class dismissed, and happy sleuthing!
Have you had a celebrity encounter at Disneyland before? Tell us about it in the comments below!