Disneyland Resort in Anaheim - February 26, 2004 trip report

When we found out that Disneyland was offering special performances of its new stage musical show "Snow White" to annual passholders, we decided to sign up for the Thursday, February 26 show at 6pm.

I left work early and arrived at the parking structure around 4:15pm.  I was a little annoyed that the car lanes were coned off oddly, so that at first, it seemed like the cast member was directing me into the pathway of other cars.  I eventually ended up with a fairly decent parking space, so that was nice.

When I got off the tram, I noticed what looked like tents set up in the esplanade.  As I walked closer, I realized that these were the new bag check stations that I'd heard about.  The esplanade was cordoned off with these tented areas in a few different places.  There were 3 or 4 CMs stationed there to check bags.  It was fairly quiet when I got there, so the bag check went really smoothly and quickly.  It'll be interesting to see how it works when it's during a crowded time, but I do like this new idea.  The CM did say that they were still in the testing stage.  The huge upside I can see is that now, it will be much easier to park hop because you won't have the hassle of constantly having your bags checked.  There have been times in the past when on busy days, we wanted to do a bit more back-and-forth between DL and DCA, but the thought of going through multiple bag checks deterred us, so we would end up being "stuck" in one park or the other.  The downsides I can think of:

1.  If you're coming from the Harbor Blvd. side, and all you want to do is to go to Downtown Disney, you'll now have to go through a bag check, whereas you didn't before.

2.  All of the barriers around the esplanade aren't exactly pleasing to the eye, but since this isn't permanent yet, perhaps something nice will be put up later.  I do, however, like that the entrance gates are now much less cluttered since there aren't multiple tables set up in front of them.

3.  The nice picnic area is inside the bag check zone, and the entrance to the picnic area from the nearby tram stop is cordoned off.  That means that for anyone bringing food from the outside, they will still be subject to the same rules as others, so someone who brings a knife to cut a cake, for instance, probably won't be allowed to bring that knife through the checkpoint whereas it wouldn't have been an issue previously.  Also, for anyone who is bringing an ice chest, it's going to be much more cumbersome to have to get that through the bag check and to carry it all the way around the other side of the picnic area as opposed to being able to go directly there from the tram stop.  A better solution would probably be to cordon off the entrance from the picnic area to the restrooms.  That way, people can still get to the lockers in the picnic area without having to go through a bag check.  The only extra burden this would create is that they'd really need a bag check entrance at that location as well, since it would be severely inconvenient if someone at the picnic area had to go all the way around to get to the restrooms.

On my way into DL, I picked up a copy of the new park guide.  With the opening of the new "Snow White" show, they've changed the front to advertise the new show, and I really like the design, with Snow White in the middle, the Prince to one side and two dwarfs to the other side.  There's a very pretty purple background as well, which really struck me, enough that I got an extra to send to a friend who's partial to purple and who hasn't been able to be at the park in a while.  I made my way up Main Street, stopping in to Disneyana for a minute to note the new big figs of Tinkerbell and for Peter Pan, with Peter and the Darling children flying around Big Ben in London.  I missed the new big fig of Aurora that was in the outside window, but my husband later pointed it out to me.

I made my way over to the Fantasyland Theatre to check in.  They had a tent set up next to the film kiosk.  I went inside, gave one of the CMs my name and showed him my pass and was given a bag of goodies.  I then went and sat down to see what was in the goodie bag:  a yellow wristband, which would serve as my entrance ticket into the theatre, a Nestle mini-size soft and chewy cookie candy bar, a mini-size Crunch, a packet of Nesquik very vanilla, and an oval button with the show's logo (faceless Snow White and Dopey) that had the words "Annual Passholder Preview - February 23 - 27, 29, 2004   Snow White The Enchanting New Musical  Disneyland" on it.  It was a very cool button, and a nice little extra.  I can't say I'm that crazy about the logo itself - I think the faceless characters are a bit creepy myself, almost reminding me of those wooden carve-outs where you put your face in to take a picture with some weird body representation.  I'm also puzzled at the "preview" wording, both on the button and in the registration.  The AP showings weren't a preview because the show itself opened on February 23.  Maybe they had intended to open the show later, or they had intended for these to be actual previews, and it didn't work out that way and just didn't get around to changing the verbiage.  I didn't really understand why we were getting candy, but my husband later reminded me that the theatre is sponsored by Nestle.

After sitting around for a while, I noticed that people were starting to get in line for the show (the last public show started at 4:45pm), so I got in line as well around 5pm.  My husband called to tell me he was in the park, but he ended up not being able to join me where I was in line, so he was towards the end of the line, which had wrapped around the queue area up towards where the train station was.  They ended up letting us into the theatre at about 5:50.  I made my way to the bottom section of the seating area and got two seats on the aisle in about the fifth row, with my husband joining me soon after.

When I had been waiting in line, I had looked through the park guide and had noted the big advertisements for new food items to accompany the new show.  The snack shop formerly known as Troubadour Treats is now called The Enchanted Cottage Sweets and Treats, and they've actually changed the signs over the location.  I thought it funny, though, that while the location has been renamed, and there's a special advertisement block for the location in the park guide, the location itself is still listed as Troubadour Treats in the "where to dine" listing on the Disneyland park guide.  Guess that'll be fixed in the next printing of the map.  Listed as being for sale at the Enchanted Cottage are:  two signature Bavarian sausages (bratwurst and knockwurst), German Chocolate Cake Brownie, "warmed caramel apple" fantasy cinnamon crisps, magic wishing apples (featuring an image of a Snow White character), "Snow White" souvenir popcorn bucket, and a "carved wood" style souvenir hot mug.  We had heard previously that there would be some themed food offerings, so we wondered what that would be.  When I showed the listings to my husband, he shared my happiness at the Bavarian sausage offerings, but he lamented that they probably wouldn't have sauerkraut.  We were pleased to discover that they are actually offering sauerkraut because someone in front of us was joined by a family member who came back with just that.  We're definitely looking forward to trying that sometime.

In general, we enjoyed the show.  (It was also a nice gesture to have a pre-show announcement acknowledging that it was an annual passholder showing.)  We had been so disappointed with the one time we saw Mickey's Detective School that we hadn't been back to the Fantasyland Theatre.  Snow White is something that I could definitely watch every so often, so it'll be nice to be able to go back to the Fantasyland Theatre again.

Following are spoilers for the show.  If you want to avoid spoilers, please skip to the next section.


















I absolutely love the new set.  It's very detailed and extends a bit to the sides of the stage.  Even the structural poles have been painted to match the set's coloring.

I liked that the dwarfs enter through the audience.  It gets the audience more connected to the show fairly immediately.

I absolutely loved the Queen's costume.  Stunning.

I really, really loved the set for the dwarfs' house, how it can be moved forward and how it turns around so that you can see the front of the house or the inside.  I think it's a great use of a limited space.

The Magic Mirror is a pretty nifty effect, with its moving facial features.  It's gonna take a few viewings, though, for me to get used to hearing Patrick Stewart's voice and hearing it just as the Magic Mirror and not as Stewart or one of the myriad of characters that he's played.

I thought the costuming of the woodland creatures was OK, but they struck me as a bit odd in some cases, not like the costumes for the Lion King parade or the Lion King segment of "Animazement".  It'll take me a few more viewings to completely make up my mind on this.

The actress who played Snow White was good, but she was hampered by a malfunctioning microphone during the first part of the show, so that at times, her voice would cut in and out and a few times, she couldn't be heard at all.  Figuring there are a few actresses who will be trading off on the part, I'm curious to see how the others are.

The actor who played the Prince was OK, but it's a fairly small role.  He had a nice singing voice, but his acting voice was a bit stilted.

The actress who played the Queen was wonderful, and I loved her inflections.  The actress who played the evil hag was good as well.

The actors who played the dwarfs were good.  I do like that they're face characters since that means they can speak and sing, but the tradeoff is in easily identifying each dwarf, and Dopey, who has always been my favorite, doesn't have the same cute, boyish quality he does as a "rubberhead".

I thought the death of the Queen/evil hag was a bit anti-climactic though.  I don't think it's entirely obvious what happens (if you don't know the story), and from what I understand, you can't see the lightning from the bottom seating area whereas you can from higher seats.  [On a side note, I was reminded very distinctly of the old "Festival of Fools" show.  During many of Snow White's scenes, the Queen is in her tower, pacing around, which reminded me a lot of Frollo.  Then, when she is killed by falling off the back of the tower, which crumbles a bit, it REALLY reminded me of Frollo.  But I digress.]

With the bubbles during the washing segment and the confetti at the end, there were definite reminders, intended or not, of "Animazement".  One thing I noted about the confetti, though - because the set is so detailed, with a lot of foliage and shrubbery, the confetti was just getting into all kinds of nooks and crannies.  I would imagine that the cleanup of confetti after each show is much more cumbersome than for prior shows.



















As we were making our way out, we were stopped by a CM who asked if we wouldn't mind answering a few questions.  She asked questions about what we thought of the show itself, what we liked and didn't like, and about the process of the event itself, as well as whether or not we'd attend future events.  When we finished up with her and continued on our way out, we noticed a CM with a basket of goodies.  As we approached, he announced to the exiting people to help themselves to one.  They were wrapped rice krispie treats in the shape of an apple and colored red.  I thought that was very cool, so we each took one to put into our bags to have at a later time.  As we exited the theatre, I turned back to look at the new sign over the theatre entrance, which I think looks great.  I also went over to look at the new sign that displays the show times.  All good.

After the show, we did a little shopping and then made our way to Main Street.  As we were just past City Hall, a CM stopped us to ask if we wouldn't mind answering a few questions.  Wow, surveyed twice in one day!  It was a fairly long survey, asking about things ranging from parking (I was able to relay my earlier annoyance regarding the parking) to the trams, to what rides/attractions we went on to what we spent on food and merchandise.  I'm not sure I've ever actually been asked a survey that was this long.

We then headed over to Downtown Disney to meet up with some friends.  We hadn't seen them in a while and so had decided to get together for dinner, and I was more than willing when the friend suggested Catal.  It's my favorite restaurant at the resort, and we'd had dinner there a few weeks ago when the upstairs restaurant changed to their winter menu.  We noticed that the downstairs uva bar has now changed to their winter menu as well, so we'll have to go back to try some of the new items there.  We arrived a bit early for our 7:30 reservation but were seated anyway.  We ended up with a server we'd had before and who was very good and pleasant, so that was nice.  I was able to try one of the new items on the menu, which I really liked, and we had a very nice dinner all around.  We lingered at our table to chat for some time, so by the time we left, the restaurant was actually closed, though there were still other patrons still there.  We stood outside and chatted a while longer before finally saying goodbye to our friends and heading home.

Even though we were only in the park and at the resort for a few hours, this kind of evening is definitely one of the advantages of living so close to Disneyland and being fortunate enough to have an annual pass.



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