Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Disneyland of Illusion: The Magic Castle

The Magic Castle is a private club for magicians and those who appreciate magic in Hollywood, California.  It first opened in 1963, so this year is its 50th Anniversary.

There are actually many connections between Disneyland and the Magic Castle, and there are some exhibits that Disneyland fans who visit the Castle will not want to miss.

Please note that photography is NOT allowed inside the Magic Castle, which is why I have no pictures of the interiors.

In the basement hall by the Hat & Hare Pub (my favorite pub; it has several cases with porcelain bunnies), there is an original miniature working model of the Pepper's ghost illusion in the Haunted Mansion.
This video of Marc Davis and Walt Disney explaining the illusion, is also on display.

The Hatbox Ghost is also in the same basement hallway, in the wine cellar.

On the 2nd Floor there is a painting in the hallway between the dining rooms and the Palace of Mystery of Milt Larsen as Walt Disney riding a train through the Magic Castle.  The painting is called "The Walt Disney of Magic" and the artist is Al Rosson.

A little way further, in front of the Parlor of Prestidigitation, there are production stills of Milt Larsen in the 1971 Disney film "Bedknobs and Broomsticks." 
Milt Larsen is listed as a "technical consultant" and had an uncredited role as a spectator at Emelius' Failed Magic Performance.

There's also a lovely dedication to Disney songwriter Richard Sherman in this spot.  As you may know, the names on the windows above Main Street in the Disney Parks feature Disney employees (also known as "Imagineers") who had a major contribution to the theme park.  It's a great honor to receive a window on Main Street; on your next trip to any Disney park, you may want to take note of some of the names on the windows; they're often a cute inside joke relating to that person's work.  

Not to be outdone, The Magic Castle also has a door for Richard Sherman.  His door at the Magic Castle is very similar to the Disneyland Door, but instead of Robert Sherman, The Castle adds Milt Larsen's name.  The Castle itself is also featured behind the piano.  The sheet music is Bon Voyage Titanic (a song from the Larsen and Sherman album 'Smash Flops')

The door reads:
"Snappy Songs and Witty Sayings
Richard Sherman and Milt Larsen
Class Songs For Class Acts
Mirth Music Magic And Mayhem Since 1951"

Also great fun is to request the songs "Grim Grinning Ghost's" or "A Pirate's Life For Me" from the piano-playing Invisible Irma while you have drinks in the Parlor.  It's a great way to bring the Happiest Place on Earth to the Most Magical Castle in the World!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


WOW! We got to have one of the most exclusive Disney experiences ever! 
We got to stay overnight in the Disneyland Dream Suite!

The Disneyland Dream Suite is the only place you can stay overnight in Disneyland.  
It can't be booked or rented; it can only be won.  
Our friends won and brought me along! [It helps that I fit in a purse.]

You may remember I've been lucky enough to tour the Dream Suite before.  But this time, we were going to stay all night and get the after hours Disneyland tour that comes with it!

The Disneyland Dream Suite is located right over Pirates of the Caribbean in New Orleans Square.  The official address is 21 Royal Street:

It was a beautiful day in Disneyland:
The view from the balcony of the Disneyland Dream Suite
So we first got to meet our Disneyland Dream Suite Hosts:
Our Hosts make such a fuss over me

The Adventureland bedroom (Master Bedroom):

The Parlor:

In the Parlor

The detail in the fireplace grill was amazing

I sat in the window seat and watched the line for Pirates of the Caribbean below:

Each bedroom has a button that says, "Goodnight Kiss".  
You press it and *magic* happens.

The Frontierland bedroom (Kids room) has a map that glows in the dark.  

There's also a patio with fireflies.  This view is from the Frontierland bedroom:

At night, they turn down the beds:
Frontierland Bedroom

Adventureland Bedroom

The Dream Suite has a balcony as well with an AMAZING view of the park, Fantasmic! and the fireworks:
Hello Murphy

After Fantasmic! the park closed and it was time to go on our after-hours tour.  The Humans wore robes.  I traveled via Robe Pocket.

Some of the highlights of our tour:

The clock dolls on the It's a Small World attraction still march all night, just without any music.  All you hear is the animatronic mechanics. Cool and creepy!

King Arthur's Carrousel

I wonder if I can pull this sword

The coolest behind-the-scenes thing was on this tree that is by Snow White's Grotto.  
The access to the tree is roped off, so you can't go up to it normally.  
Carved into the side of the tree are two sets of initials:
PP + WD - now, I wonder who that could be?
PP +WD - our guide asked if we knew who that was.  
We guessed Walt Disney and Pattie Page, but that was incorrect.  
Our guide told us those initial stand for "Peter Pan" and "Wendy Darling".
Just another bit of hidden Disneyland magic!

Here I am at the New Orleans Square train station.  They powerwash at night.
When's the next train?

When we got back to our room, we figured it was time for bed:

But not before taking a few pictures:
on the shelf in the Frontierland Bedroom

Sleepy Bunnies
And we fell asleep to the glow-in-the-dark map of Disneyland on the wall. #Magic


The next morning, we were up early. 

It's really magical waking up inside Disneyland.

We slowly watched dawn break and the park come to life.

I tried to take it all in.
I'm not going to see this view again

It was all so peaceful.  
On the balcony of the Disneyland Dream Suite, you can hear the jazz music (from New Orleans Square) and the jungle drums (from Tarzan's Treehouse).

And then,  at 9:02, two minutes park opening - guests started streaming in. 

We could imagine how Walt Disney himself felt as we watched people starting their Disneyland day on streets that had been empty seconds earlier :

It was time to go.

But we also got to have breakfast at the Plaza Inn. 
And we thanked our Fairy Godmother for a dream come true.

'It's a nice day when you wake up in Disneyland.'
--Five For Fighting