Thursday, November 14, 2013

World of Color - Winter Dreams at Disney California Adventure, 2013

Disney California Adventure's nighttime entertainment World of Color is getting its first full make-over.  World of Color - Winter Dreams is set to debut to the public on Friday, November 15, 2013, but the show had its premiere performance (at least that's what Disney called it) on Thursday, November 14, 2013.  The Disney Parks Blog had conducted a contest about a week prior for a chance to preview the show, and I was lucky enough to get in and to bring one guest.  The day before the show, Disney also announced a special opportunity for annual passholders to attend the preview.  The evening turned out to be the media event for the show as well.

There was a set registration time, and with work and traffic and such, we literally made it to registration with seconds to spare.  As soon as we turned in our completed likeness waivers and received our wristbands, they closed the ticket booth window.  We rushed through the gates and to the designated meeting place, walking past long lines of annual passholders along the way as they waited to be let into the show as well.  We were let into the viewing area and then the annual passholder line was let in after us.

The wristbands were much different than for other events.

We were pleasantly surprised to discover that we were all being given a pair of the Glow with the Show ears.  We'd previously received a pair when they'd debuted them with World of Color but the batteries had run out on them, and we hadn't replaced the batteries yet.  As we headed to a viewing section (not too close because we didn't want to get too wet), we noticed they were handing out programs so picked up one of those.  We were thrilled to discover that the program was like a Playbill that you get when you attend a live play or musical.

A lovely CM was kind enough to hold the program for me to photograph.

We found a spot in the upper section, dead center looking at Mickey's fun wheel, and there was only one sparse row of people in front of us.  I positioned myself so that I was looking through the space between two not-very-tall people, so I had a pretty good view.  As annual passholders were let into the viewing area, our section started to fill up.

Waiting for World of Color - Winter Dreams with a sea of Glow with the Show ears in front of us.

After about a half-hour wait, it was showtime!  Steve Davison, Disney entertainment guru extraordinaire, did an introduction for the new show and was joined by none other than Josh Gad himself, who voices the character of Olaf in the upcoming Disney animated film "Frozen".  Olaf is the main character who takes the audience on the journey through World of Color - Winter Dreams.

No spoilers for the show itself (I'm sure you can find pictures and videos galore on the internet if you're so inclined).  I enjoyed the show, and there was a lot of different things to see, and I know I missed some of them with just the one viewing so far.  Lots of nifty new effects - the technology and technique has definitely been upgraded, and it was fun to see how the Glow with the Show ears are utilized in this new production.

Below is the full program that was given to us for the evening's performance.  Click on the image to get a larger version of each picture.

Enjoy the show!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Carthay Circle Restaurant - dinner - March 23, 2013

Our last visit had been in July 2012, so we finally had a chance to go back to the restaurant.  We were seated in the Hollywood room, where there are pictures of various Oscar winners for Disney films.  I was pleasantly surprised that our table ended up being right across from my favorite picture in that room.

The husband and I perused the menu and had a difficult time deciding what to have for dinner as there were many items to choose from.  We finally made our selections with our server, and bread was brought out to the table.  It's always nice to have fresh sourdough bread.  We'd tried the signature fried biscuits on our previous visits, and while we like them, we're not crazy enough about them to order them on every visit.  We'd probably be more inclined to order them if we were there with people who hadn't visited the restaurant before so they could try them.

For a starter, the husband had the warm artichokes tart.  He enjoyed the dish, and he especially enjoyed the blood orange vinaigrette, though when I had a bite of it, I agreed with him that the pastry wasn't as flaky as it could have been.

Warm Artichokes Tart - Redwood Hills goat milk cheddar, baby spinach and a blood orange vinaigrette

For my starter, I'd known what I was going to have before I'd even gotten there.  On my previous visit, I'd had a chance to try the fire cracker duck wings.  Oh my goodness, were those delicious.  I've been wanting more ever since.  So as much as I was tempted by the seasonal soup (Thai lemongrass squash broth, accented with ginger, coconut and cilantro glazed chicken), I had to have the duck wings.  They were every bit as delicious as I had remembered - tender meat and wonderful flavor with a nice kick from the sriracha.  I asked the server what kind of sriracha sauce was used in the dish, and she confirmed that it was "rooster sauce", the best and most popular brand of sriracha chili sauce.  (She also mentioned that they had a bottle of it at the servers' station, so if you want some as a condiment to any other dish, it's definitely available.)  I was amused that the Disney Parks Blog this week published the recipe for the duck wings.

Fire cracker duck wings - soy, lime and sriracha chile sauce.

For an entree, the husband ordered the short rib raviolis.  He very much enjoyed the dish and said it was the perfect serving size.  I had considered ordering that myself, so I was happy to just have a taste of the ravioli.  The meat filling was delicious.

Short rib raviolis sauteed in sage brown butter, with portobello mushrooms, sprouts and butternut squash.

For my entree, I had decided on the tiger prawns.  They were nicely cooked with good texture, and the small potatoes made a nice accompaniment, and of course, the sauce was wonderful.

Tiger prawns on a broth of fingerling potatoes, leeks, applewood bacon and thyme.

We perused the dessert menu and noticed that while the regular menu had been changed to the spring edition, the dessert menu was still listed as the winter menu.

The husband chose the lemon pound cake, which he enjoyed.

Toasted lemon pound cake with fresh marinated blueberries, lemon curd cream and Tahitian vanilla chantilly.

For my dessert, I chose the pear pie.  I liked the pear filling, but the crust was a bit more dense than I had expected, so it was very filling, and I didn't end up having much of it.

Warm winter pear country pie with salted caramel ice cream.

Overall, we very much enjoyed our dinner.  Our server was very friendly and helpful, and we ended up chatting with her at various times throughout dinner.  (She even relayed a story about someone who had recently been introduced to the sriracha sauce and loved it but who found out the hard way that sriracha sauce by itself does not make a good spaghetti sauce.  [Sriracha sauce added to tomato sauce, however, is wonderful.]).  Hopefully, another eight months won't have to pass before our next visit.

(Right click on the menu and open as a link for a larger version.)

I'd noticed several weeks ago in looking at the menu outside the restaurant that a new tasting menu had been added.  I'm told that it started in February, and the current plan is to change the tasting menu every couple of months.  Note that you can't order any of the items off the tasting menu a la carte - they are only available as part of the tasting menu prix fixe.

(Right click on the menu and open as a link for a larger version.)

Here's my review of our dinner at Carthay Circle Restaurant on opening night.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Salute to the Golden Horseshoe Revue - Disneyland - January 19, 2013

Disneyland recently announced that there would be a limited run of A Salute to the Golden Horseshoe Revue at its Golden Horseshoe venue.  In addition to regular shows during the day, they were also going to have a separately-ticketed 6:30pm show only for annual passholders.  For a cost of $35, APs would get to see the show on a guaranteed date, and they would also receive dinner and a souvenir.  I'd heard a bit about the show that used to be at the Golden Horseshoe but didn't really know much about it.  A group of friends wanted to attend a show, so the husband and I decided to join them.

We were given wristbands to allow us entrance into the show, and we lined up to wait to be let in.  They let us in around 6pm, and we made our way into the theatre.  A cast member asked how many were in our party, and when we said 8, we were directed to 2 tables which each sat 4 people.  We were about half-way back from the stage and still had a pretty good view.

The tables were already set up with the souvenir plastic boots (filled with corn chips), a small bottle of water and plastic cutlery and a napkin.

Table set-up.  Our table was missing a boot, and when we informed a cast member, she brought us another one.

The tables are pretty small to accommodate four people, but we managed to squish everything together enough to make it manageable.

Cast members then came around to hand us our packaged meals.

Meals consisted of half a black forest ham sandwich, a "slider" sandwich of roast beef, mustard and horseradish sauces in little containers, shaved carrot salad with raisins and nuts, small fruit salad, and potato salad.

Dinner is served.  (This is a better view of the boot as well.)

I thought both sandwiches were pretty good.  The sauces were ok, though they were pretty mild.  I'm not particularly fond of shaved carrot salad or raisins, so I only picked out a few of the nuts to eat, but I did very much enjoy the potato salad and the fruit salad.

The cast members also told us that if we wanted mint juleps or soft drinks, we could just go get them from the bar with no added charge.

We had a bit of time to eat, and then at 6:30, the lights dimmed and the show started.  The small band that accompanies the performers was seated right in front of the stage.

I very much enjoyed the show.  I have nothing to compare it to as I'd never seen the original show and don't know much about it at all, but I did enjoy the show they presented, and I love the costumes.  Another friend and I agreed that we wished the show was longer, but then, I could have sat there for an hour watching the dancing and the singing and been very happy.

One of the lead performers comes out to interact with the audience.  (I know, she has a name, but I can't remember what it is.)  She was terrific, just the right mix of funny, sweet and flirty.

Dancing girls!

At the conclusion of the show, they invited everyone to share a slice of cake like the cake that Walt and Lillian had to celebrate their 30th anniversary.  Cast members then came around to pass out little cakes to everyone.

The cakes had a picture printed on top.  I haven't eaten my cake yet, but my friends who had theirs said it was a white cake with berries - likely raspberries.

After we were all finished, we gathered up our things and got ready to leave.  It seemed odd that there was a slow-moving line to exit until we realized they were passing something out at the exit.  We were each given a CD of the old Golden Horseshoe show labeled as a gift to APs attending these shows.

Front and back of the CD.

I had a wonderful time, enjoying the food, the show, and sharing the experience with friends.  Based on the reaction of the audience, everyone seemed to have a good time.

There's always the age-old question of "was it worth it?"  I had a good time and enjoyed myself, so it was worth it to me.  But paying the extra price for the extra amenities is certainly not necessary to enjoy the show itself.

Performances of the show currently run Thursdays through Monday, ending February 4, 2013.  The 6:30pm show is the only one reserved for APs and the dining package.  The rest of the shows during the day are open to all visitors for no extra charge, and refreshments can be purchased.  I'd like to be able to see the show again during one of the open performances, but I'm not sure I'm going to get a chance to do that.  I would definitely recommend trying to catch the show if you can.  I hope that the show gets a positive enough reaction that Disney will decide to bring the show back, so that the Golden Horseshoe stage can be shared between this Salute and Billy Hill & the Hillbillies.