Sunday, May 29, 2016

'Frozen' Live Musical Debuts at Disney California Adventure!

Time to throw myself back into the blogging life. And why not start with one of the biggest pieces of recent Disney news?

Earlier this year, to many fans' protests, the Aladdin live musical at Disneyland had its last show, after a 13-year run at the Hyperion Theater in Disney California Adventure.

What was to replace it?


Which only added to fans' bitterness over the change.

All this hype and hesitation came to a climax when the Frozen live Broadway-esque show premiered just two days ago.

Reaction: mixed feelings.

And despite two technical difficulties, the show proved to be a surprising success, due to its incredible effects, puppetry and color-blind casting.

Let's address each on its own.

Broadway-style Effects

This show, this story, needs lots of technical effects. For one, Elsa has ice powers. To make this work onstage, special effects are needed. And of course, it's typical for Disney to pull a few tricks out of their sleeves to keep the audience interested.

And man, do the effects absolutely blow one away!

Let's start with the set. It's designed to easily transition into each scene, with a giant door at the back. Either the door is also a screen or high-tech projections are used. But it's truly amazing to watch in action (which you can find at the end of this post).

The set is made up of technical details as well as standard pieces. The floor rotates, and various doors either drop down or roll onstage. Elsa's ice bridge is a similar piece to Pride Rock in The Lion King on Broadway (a show that also influences the puppetry in Frozen).

Now onto some icy magic -- or rather, magical effects. I'm talking about Elsa's signature song, "Let it Go." Instagram user @bruinrogue captured the first bit of her song, giving us an idea of how Disney brought Elsa's magic to life (hint, hint: door.)

But the part that really takes your breath away is when Elsa discards her royal robes for her iconic blue dress.

A video posted by mary (@mousekears) on

It's all in the style of Cinderella on Broadway, an effect that always amazes me, despite (now) knowing how it works.

This should serve as enough to convince you that the show effects are spectacular, just what you'd expect from a Broadway-style show. There's plenty more, trust me. But we'll close with the moment Anna completely freezes -- an effect even I don't fully understand yet.

A video posted by mary (@mousekears) on

Humorous Puppetry

Almost all the characters in Frozen are human. Key word: almost.

To bring reindeer Sven and snowman Olaf to life, Disney opted for puppets, instead of the typical costume characters seen in other Frozen shows. Quite a refreshing change, honestly, because Olaf being the same size as Anna was a little overwhelming.

Again, Frozen looks to The Lion King for inspiration, by bringing Julie Taymor-styled puppets to the stage. Sven is performed by a partially-visible performer, whereas Olaf is completely visible. Just like Pumbaa and Timon, respectively.

This gives the puppets a whole new level. Not only are the performers portraying a character, but they're adding their own personalities as well. And the puppets are extremely animated.

Race Doesn't Matter

Perhaps the most acclaimed aspect of the Frozen musical is its color blind casting. One of Anna's friends is Cuban. One of Kristoff's is African-American. Fans wanted this in the animated film itself, so many are satisfied it happened in the live musical.

A photo posted by Kate C (@katecphotography) on

Apparently, Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular also did color blind casting, so the fact that Disney is honoring the previous show is a nice touch!

But color blind casting aside, the entire cast (and it rotates) is incredible. Bravo to the casting team and performers!

All Together

With all these factors combined, my final opinion on Frozen at the Hyperion is this: take me to Disneyland so I can see my guilty pleasure in person!

And finally. Here is the entire show, courtesy of SoCal Theme Parks 360.

What do you think of the show? Comment below!

See y'all real soon!


But even Disney isn't perfect. Live shows are always at risk of malfunctions, forgotten lines and technical mistakes.

Twitter user Jesse Rhian shared this video of Elsa's dress malfunction not quite happening as planned. It does eventually work, but spoilers on how the effect is created are shown. Even so, the effect is altogether amazing.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Giveaway: Win an AmourPrint of Your Choice!

Hello, everyone! No, I haven't died. Yes, I was incredibly busy while working at Walt Disney World for my Disney College Program. But I'm back home and hopefully, I'll be back in the blogging groove soon.

About a week before the end of my program, Kristie Edwards contacted me about doing a product review. She owns AmourPrints, a shop on Etsy which sells beautiful prints of characters on dictionary pages or sheets of music.

I suggested taking this product review to the next level: after unboxing a print of my choice on camera, why not run a giveaway where the winner picks a print of their choice, just like I had?

AmourPrints are absolutely beautiful, guys. Everyone I've showed mine to has loved it, and I can't wait to frame it! The quality is great, the designs are beautiful, and Kristie has lots of options available! Trust me when I say, you're gonna love whichever prize you choose!

Enter below via the Rafflecopter widget. You can enter up to 2 p.m. (CST) on June 4, after which I shall select a random winner. May the force be with you, and the odds ever in your favor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Finally: FastPass+ Enhancements for Walt Disney World

Disney finally upgraded the FastPass+ system at Walt Disney World. With the new enhancements, Guests can now:

  • make up to three selections. The key word(s) is "up to" -- versus earlier when the system forced Guests to choose three, or automatically created the remainder. Now, if a Guest wants only one FastPass, they can select just one.
  • choose individual FastPasses and times. The system no longer forces a time slot, but instead allows Guests to have total freedom over when they'd like to experience the attraction.
  • select an additional FastPass after the first three are redeemed. Previously, this could only be done at a kiosk. Now it can be done at either at kiosk or on the app.

To aid Guests with the changes, Disney has provided the following video, as a guide:

With my family coming to visit me toward the end of my program, I decided to test the new system myself and create some FastPasses for their trip.

The entire system has a whole new look to it, one that I found refreshing and simple. Kudos to the design team!

All screenshots by Molly Blaeser
for The Disney Freak's Blog.

Clicking the plus sign in the top corner gave me the options to select my FastPass party, the date and the park. You can swipe through the dates, or you can select a date from the calendar icon. As of yet, you cannot make FastPasses in multiple parks.

And now there's an option to look for FastPasses around a certain time frame, or an entire time of day, such as "Morning."

The new upgrade makes it very easy to discover which FastPasses are available and which aren't.

And as the video above showed, you can quite easily add or remove family and friends to/from your selections. One can also create FastPasses for different people -- Splash Mountain for John and Jill, but Peter Pan's Flight for Grandma and the kids.

All in all, this upgrade has been quite anticipated and really makes the system much more user-friendly.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

First Look: Judy Hopps, Nick Wilde of 'Zootopia' Attend Movie Premiere!

The red carpet premiere for Zootopia happened earlier today, and while I'm sure the highlight of the event was the actual movie itself, the official first appearance of Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps was a close second!

Judy represents those only interested in the movie, whereas Nick
represents those interested in the characters.
Image via

Disney's official Instagram, as well as D23's account, shared photos of the movie's starring duo. Judy Hopps is Zootopia's newest police officer, and Nick Wilde is the scam artist who helps her solve her first case.

A photo posted by Disney (@disney) on

A photo posted by Disney D23 (@disneyd23) on

My only request at this point? Bring these two to Walt Disney World! (And the other parks...but definitely Florida!)

Are you excited for Zootopia? I know I am!

See y'all real soon.


Check out this video from the movie premiere, featuring Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Limited Time Same-Day Reservations for Skipper Canteen Start Tomorrow!

For a limited time, Magic Kingdom's newest restaurant, Skipper Canteen, will accept same-day reservations, according to the Disney Parks Blog.

Photo taken by Molly Blaeser for The Disney Freak's Blog.

Previously, the restaurant was walk-up only location, using the text-when-ready service. But from Feb. 12 to 27, Guests can reserve a table and enjoy either lunch or dinner within the same day. (It's a clever way to handle the upcoming busy season!)

Skipper Canteen is based off the popular attraction, The Jungle Cruise. With skippers for hosts, your meal is sure to be a pun-filled delicious treat!

I recommend Trader Sam's Heads-on Shrimp for seafood lovers. But all the food is amazing, and not overly pricey.

To make a reservation, visit or call 407-993-1933.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Dory Returns in 'Finding Dory' International Trailer

The first trailer for Finding Dory dropped three months ago and recently, an international teaser trailer has been released!

Images via

And while this trailer doesn't reveal any plot details, it does provide a chance to be reintroduced to our favorite blue tang, Dory, and humor Ellen DeGeneres brings to a beloved character.

The trailer may be short, simple and only 35 seconds, but it's also a hilarious 35 seconds.

I'm sure you'll agree with me that the last few lines are the best.

Are you excited for Finding Dory? The movie swims into theaters June 17 this year (and July 29 in the United Kingdom)!

See you real soon.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

'The Three Caballeros' Animatronics Added to Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico Pavilion at EPCOT

The Gran Fiesta Tour boat ride in the Mexico Pavilion at EPCOT isn't a huge crowd favorite, but even so: at the end of last year, it got a nice little update.

Animatronic figures of the Three Caballeros -- namely, Donald Duck, Jose and Panchito -- were installed at the finale of the ride. The animatronics aren't brand-new, as they used to appear in Mickey Mouse Revue in Magic Kingdom, closed since 1980. However, the animatronics were given a nice little refurbishment and look amazing.

Image via wdwsisters on Flickr.

The animatronics definitely bring a better show effect than a screen with the animated characters, as previously seen.

Image via f**

Because I love the Three Caballeros, and thus the ride, taking a trip to EPCOT to check out the new additions was no hassle for me. I even got a video!

What do you think of the improvements? All I want now is to have Jose and Panchito meet with Donald at Mexico.

Image via everythingdisney on Flickr.