Sunday, December 30, 2012

Finding High Definition!

Available Now!

Jelly dude!!! Ok, so hopefully by now, at least MOST of you out there have seen the  incredibly entertaining 2003 Disney/Pixar film Finding Nemo. If not...well, here's a waring: THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD ME MATEY'S!

In 2003, Walt Disney Pictures released the fifth film produced by Pixar Animation Studios called Finding Nemo. This heartwarming adventure film told the story of an over protective clown fish (let's face it...we ALL know clown fish...they CAN be quite over protective, right?) named Marlin. Now, Marlin goes a bit overboard (pun intended) with the way he's raising his son, Nemo, but in his defense, Marlin IS a single parent. See, Nemo's mom was - gulp - killed off at the beginning of the movie! So, like most rebellious kids, Nemo decides to put his fin down and teach his dad that he's too grown up to be treated like a guppy! But of course, while attempting to show is independence, Nemo is "captured" by a diver and brought to live in a dentists (P. Sherman, Sydney) aquarium, with the "Tank Gang", a motley crew of assorted sea life, led by the crafty and overly ambitious Moorish Idol (yep, a type of butterfly fish!) named Gill. Once Marlin discovers Nemo is missing, well, the fun begins! Marlin sets out, without regard to his own safety, to find his beloved son, and, with the help of a good hearted, optimistic Regal Blu Tang (uh-huh, another type of fish!) named Dory (who by the way suffers from short-term 
Dory and Marlin 
memory loss), Marlin encounters adventure after adventure, in his quest. 
In true Disney fashion, Finding Nemo is a highly entertaining film, that does appeal to kids of all ages. The story, while not completely original (the theme has been done before), is presented in a way that is incredibly beautiful and immersive. Although an animated film, I found myself actually forgetting the characters weren't real! Yes, there is a message in this film, as in just about all Disney films, but it's not preachy. In the end, the moral of the story is pretty complex and applies to both parents and children: for parents, the moral is to listen to your kids, understand that there will come a time when they need some independence and yes, they MUST learn from their mistakes, good or bad. And for kids, listen to your parents for although you may doubt it, they do know what they're doing (at times), and be patient with them. Remember, for the most part this is all new to THEM as well! 
Finding Nemo with High Definition!

On December 4, 2012, Disney/Pixar released Finding Nemo on Blu-Ray and 3D Blu-Ray for the first time. Yeah I’ve seen it on VHS, you’ve seen it on DVD so what’s the big deal? Well, let me tell you! Finding Nemo was awesome on DVD - very fluid (yep, that was a pun). But as visually appealing as it was on DVD, Blu-Ray transforms Finding Nemo into an incredibly stunning high definition feast for the eyes! What could possibly be better than that? Well, SOOOO glad you asked! Finding Nemo in Blu-Ray 3D! WHOA!! Now, we do own a Sony 3D Blu-Ray player, but unfortunately we don’t own a 3D capable television, which you do need to enjoy this awesome film in all it’s 3D sensory glory, but from what we’ve heard from friends who have seen it in 3D...well, let’s just say that when Bruce the shark come up to Marlin and real they had to mop up the water on the floor! 

Finding Nemo is awesome on Blu-Ray. This hi-def format and enhanced audio creates an incredible experience that, in our opinion, was even better than seeing it on the big-screen. So much more depth to the film, highlighting much more detail than ever before, enabling you to truly appreciate the unbelievable skill the Disney/Pixar animators bring to the table. 

Not only does this release mark the debut of Finding Nemo in high definition, but it also includes some pretty gnarly bonus content, such as 3D and 2D virtual aquariums, CineExplore© (an awesome option that allows you to expand on the viewing experience with pop-up behind the scenes photos, production art, etc), A Filmmakers’ Roundtable and much more! Finding Nemo Blu-Ray is available as  5-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition (2 Disc Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray 3D, DVD and Digital Copy) for $49.99 SRP,  3-Disc Collector’s Edition and Blu-Ray for $39.99 SRP, Blu-Ray 3D for $25.00 SRP and Blu-Ray for $19.50 SRP. Of course, you can always visit the Tales From The Mouse House Amazon Store to purchase your very own copy! 
Blu-Ray So Totally ROCKS Dude!

Finding Nemo has always been one of our favorite Disney/Pixar films. The story, the visual beauty, everything, just adds up to one terrific way to spend 102 minutes! But add the extreme make-over of Blu-Ray or Blu-Ray 3D...well, as my good friend Crush would say....It So Totally Rocks! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tales From The Mouse House...Episode 62

Welcome to episode 62 of Tales From The Mouse House Disneyland Podcast! Our 2012 Christmas fun-type-cool-episode! On this episode, we discuss some of the challenges we've had recently during the Holiday Season, like the Christmas yard, what a challenge THAT'S been! And, of course, Joyce's challenges getting our annual Christmas tradition ornaments. That was certainly a trial of patience and well, keeping our Holiday Spirit! But, with the aid of a terrific, Magical Cast Member named Chad, well, you'll need to tune in for that outcome!

Disneyland Resort for the Holidays!
In our Attraction Review, Joyce discusses one of the cutest new additions to Disney California Adventure on Buena Vista Street that doubles as a roving musical, and in or Food Review, Al reviews the Trolley Treats on Buena Vista Street for a great place to get your sugar rush on! Plus, we had the awesome honor of interviewing someone how really has little extra time to chat this time of year. We'd tell you his name, but we can't. You'll need to listen for that gem, but we CAN tell you, he's VERY popular this time of year! Oh, and he loves to wear red, has a HUGE white beard and rides around in an unconventional mode of transportation! 

We'd also like to take this opportunity to say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a VERY Happy, Blessed, Prosperous and Safe New Year to each and every one of you. We truly appreciate you listening to us rant about our favorite place in the entire world - Disneyland! It's because of you that we continue to do this show, because we LOVE sharing our LOVE for Disney with all of you. And to say thank you, we've done up a neat, fun little rendition of The 12 Days Of Christmas...Disneyland style! Joyce wrote the lyrics and Al sang the song - ALL 12 PARTS! Talk about CRAZY!! 

The "Royal" Disneyland Couple
We plan on bringing you much more in 2013. As with Disneyland, Tales From The Mouse House Disneyland Podcast is ever evolving, so we'd LOVE to hear your suggestions. And be sure to keep an eye out on our blog site for more reviews. We'll be reviewing Disney/Pixar films like Frankenweenie, Finding Nemo and many more. Plus, from time to time, we'll have giveaway copies, so be on the look out for Tales Trivia contests! Thanks again for your support and trust in us! 

Oh Christmas Tree, OH Christmas Tree!
As always, If you’d like to send in comments for the show, you can send us an email to, leave us voicemail on the Hotline at 304-TALES23, leave us feedback in iTunes or leave comments for us on our Twitter account @talespodcast. Heck, you can even find us on FaceBook, just search for Tales From The House House - Disneyland podcast! If you'd like to listen to the show, you can find it on iTunes, on our podcast site at, the direct episode link: Episode 62, or on Stitcher Radio now! Just visit and search for Tales From The Mouse House - Disneyland Podcast!

Thanks for making us part of your Disney experience and remember…
"Make It A Disney Christmas Day!" ~~ Al & Joyce

For a little Holiday fun, check out the awesome Tinker Bell and the Secret Of The Wings Winter Woods Snow Flakes print and play activity below! And don't forget to pick up YOUR copy of Disney's Secret Of The Wings today!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tales From The Mouse House...Episode 61

Welcome to episode 61 of Tales From The Mouse House Disneyland Podcast! As many of you know, each year from mid-November to early January, the Disneyland Resort is transformed into a Winter Holiday Wonderland, complete with lights, Holiday music and believe it or not...SNOW! Well, among these wonderful treats, another annual Christmas tradition at the Resort is the Candlelight Processional Ceremony. A tradition beginning in 1958, each year, the Disneyland Resort hosts a celebration of the Season with beautiful orchestral and choir music, a wonderful Candlelight narration of the Biblical Christmas Story, presented by many of entertainments biggest names (like John Wayne, Gregory Peck, James Stewart, James Earl Jones, Carry Grant and many more!). This year was no different, in fact, Disney expanded this Holiday treat to 20 nights!    
2012 Disneyland Candlelight Processional

Unfortunately we were not able to attend this prestigious event, but our great friend Mr. Daps and his crew not only attended many of the nights, but they filmed them as well! And being the AWESOME guy Mr. Daps is, he has graciously agreed to allow us to share the audio from one of the most highly anticipated of the 2012 Processionals - narrated by Mr. Dick Van Dyke! Mr. Van Dyke is a Legend in the Disney fact, he IS a Disney Legend! His presentation of the Christmas Story, despite some wetter than desired conditions (it rained!), is masterfully delivered. We're honored to bring you this special Holiday treat! We hope you enjoy the show. 

 If you’d like to view this or any of the 2012 Candlelight Processional videos by Mr. Daps, check out his website at or his YouTube channel at

Be sure to join us next week for our special Christmas Greetings episode! We'll share some of our favorite Holiday stories, some fun Holiday Attractions and Shows at the Disneyland Resort that we enjoy, (hopefully) some of YOUR Holiday stories and...a special interview with a man we're sure you ALL will know! Ok, a little hint: he has a great white beard, awesome dimples and when he laughs, he tummy jiggles like a bowl full of jelly! So, be sure to send in your Holiday stories, or if you'd just like to say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas to us or someone you know, we'd LOVE to share them!!

As always, If you’d like to send in comments for the show, you can send us an email to, leave us voicemail on the Hotline at 304-TALES23, leave us feedback in iTunes or leave comments for us on our Twitter account @talespodcast. Heck, you can even find us on FaceBook, just search for Tales From The House House - Disneyland podcast! If you'd like to listen to the show, you can find it on iTunes, on our podcast site at, the direct episode link: Episode 61, or on Stitcher Radio now! Just visit and search for Tales From The Mouse House - Disneyland Podcast!

Thanks for making us part of your Disney experience and remember…
"Make It A Minnie Mouse Day!" ~~ Al & Joyce

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Odd Life Of Timothy Green...

Disney's The Odd Life Of Timothy Green

The Odd Life Of Timothy Green has landed!

In 2010, Joyce and I attended the Disney D23 Expo at Disneyland. Probably the most popular panel was one that highlighted the many films Disney, Disney/Pixar and Marvel would be releasing in the months and years to come. One of these films was a live action family film by Disney starring Jennifer Gardner, Joel Edgerton and CJ Adams, called The Odd Life Of Timothy Green. We weren't shown many clips, but what we did see interested us a great deal, and at the time, we were very excited to see this film. As life would have it, when the movie was released in theaters, we didn't make it. 

But on December 4, 2012, Disney released The Odd Life Of Timothy Green on Blu-Ray and DVD, and we finally got a chance to see it. And we were not let down in the least. 

Of course by now, you all know that we're not about spoilers here. We firmly believe that YOU should be able to experience movies on your own, and really just want to give you OUR take on it. So, with that in mind....

The Odd Life Of Timothy Green is really a story about what happens when life throws you a huge curve ball and sends you down a vastly different path than the one you imagined yourself taking. How would you react? That's the question facing Jim and Cindy Green, a very happily married couple who want nothing more than to have a family to share their incredible love with. Unfortunately, after many unsuccessful months of trying, they're given the terrible news that they will never have children. So they decide to take all the traits they envisioned for their child and bury them (literally), their way of dealing with their grief, and moving on. Then, one "stormy" night, something incredibly amazing happens: Timothy shows up on their doorstep. And the adventure begins!
Cindy, Timothy and Jim Green

The Odd Life Of Timothy Green is a film that really touches the heart, on many levels. At it's core it's a family film, and by that I mean it's something that speaks to all of us. On some level we can all identify with the Greens, if not their exact situation, with something we each call our own. There of course is a definite message in this movie, as  you would expect from a Disney production. When things look darkest, that's when we should be at our best. Life deals many cards to us during our time on this planet. Sometimes we're dealt all aces, but most of the time, the hand we're dealt, well, stinks. But it's HOW we deal with that twist of fate that speaks volumes about us. That's what the Greens discover, with the help of Timothy. 

Calling any film "heartwarming", or "uplifting" is really kind of cliche but in all honesty, The Odd Life Of Timothy Green IS all of those touching cliches! I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, more in fact than I thought I would. Oh, I knew I would like it, from the clips we saw, and how Jennifer Gardner spoke about it at the Expo. But I didn't expect to have this film leave me with the feeling that I COULD in fact watch it over and over. It's certainly a must have in the Disney library for sure. 
"Low Ridin'" with Cindy, Timothy and Jim Green

With an incredible cast that includes Jennifer Gardner ("13 Going On 30", "Arthur"), Joel Edgerton ("Warrior", "The Thing"), Dianne Wiest ("I Am Sam", "Parenthood"), CJ Adams ("Dan In Real Life"), and an all-star supporting cast, and directed by Peter Hedges, the man who brought us "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and "Dan In Real Life", Timothy Green is a beautifully acted and visually wonderful film. 

Joyce said that for her, this is a very heartwarming and family friendly movie, done in true Disney fashion. Although many of the situations in this film may be a bit beyond younger children, they'll still enjoy the magical characteristics of Timothy! With themes like love, heartache, bullying and enduring, there's something everyone can relate to in Timothy Green. A well acted and well written movie, although a bit unrealistic in some areas and very different than any Disney movie she's seen, Joyce said there are a lot of valuable take-aways. 

Now, although I like this movie a great deal, I must admit that I AM glad we never got around to seeing it in the theater. It's not really a "pay full price, plus $20 for popcorn" kind of film. It is a bit slow in some places, and I found myself thinking a few cuts here and there wouldn't have been bad. But it is certainly something I will watch over and over, snuggled up on the sofa with my best friend (and wife!) Joyce. In fact, we watched it over the Thanksgiving holiday and have decided to make it our annual Turkey Day Movie Tradition. On my as yet to be named rating scale of 1-5, I'm giving The Odd Life Of Timothy Green a 4, because it made me tear up! ~~ Al 

The Odd Life Of Timothy Green is now available on Blu-Ray Combo Pack, DVD, HD Digital. Visit our Amazon Affiliate Store for your copy today! Tales From The Mouse House Amazon Store

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tales From The Mouse House...Episode 60

Welcome to Tales From The Mouse House Disneyland Podcast Episode 60 - Minnie MouseCast Edition! On this special unscheduled episode, our great friend Randy Crane from Mouse Ear Vacations, host of Stories Of The Magic podcast, proud sponsor of Tales From The Mouse House podcast and published author, joins us to update everyone on his awesome new book: Once Upon YOUR Time, 7 Strategies For Gaining Control Of Your Time - it's NOW available in paperback and Kindle formats! YEAH. 

Randy Crane
And, as a reward to all our awesome listeners, Randy is offering a special deal: Through December 15, 2012, you can purchase your very own copy of this terrific book for a discount! If you purchase Once Upon Your Time through Create Space, use code XG2665PW to get $4.00 off your purchase! And, if you purchase through Amazon, Randy is reducing the price from $6.99 for the paperback to $2.99, or from $4.99 to 99 cents for the Kindle edition! Talk about an awesome deal! Visit Randy at to find links to Amazon and Create Space. But hurry, the discount code and special pricing is only available through December 15, 2012!

Randy also shared some amazing news about the Disney Cruise Line - some terrific deals going on you'll want to check into for your next Disney Adventure! For more information, check out Randy at for complete details, or to book your vacation! 

Also on this special Minnie MouseCast, our awesome friend Lisa Robertson from Babes In Disneyland shares some 
Lisa Robertson and SANTA!!
terrific interviews she filmed at Disney California Adventure with two special guests: one who chats about some Limited Time Magic opportunities at the Resort, and...(gasp) Lisa gets up close and personal with none other than the Jolly Man himself - SANTA CLAUS! 

If you'd like to see the videos, check out Lisa on YouTube at Be sure to check out her blog site as well at

As always, If you’d like to send in comments for the show, you can send us an email to, leave us voicemail on the Hotline at 304-TALES23, leave us feedback in iTunes or leave comments for us on our Twitter account @talespodcast. Heck, you can even find us on FaceBook, just search for Tales From The House House - Disneyland podcast! If you'd like to listen to the show, you can find it on iTunes, on our podcast site at, the direct episode link: Episode 60, or on Stitcher Radio now! Just visit and search for Tales From The Mouse House - Disneyland Podcast!

Thanks for making us part of your Disney experience and remember…
"Make It A Minnie Mouse Day!" ~~ Al & Joyce


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happiest Blog On Earth...Walter Elias Disney

Walt Disney and a Friend!

Today is December 5th. For a lot of people, an ordinary, average everyday sort of day. For many, it marks the point in the year where it's officially time to freak out about Christmas shopping! And then there are those of us who look at this day differently. We see December 5th as a very auspicious day in the...well, in the Happiness "industry"! See, an inspirational visionary was born on December 5, 1901 - Walt Disney

Now, this isn't going to be a history lesson, or a biographical piece, so I won't delve into WHO Walt was, but I will tell you WHAT he means to me. It's only fitting that I pay tribute to him. After all, I owe a LOT to him really. Over the course of his amazing life, Walt created most of the greatest memories for a great many people, through his animated movies, TV shows and of course, his beloved Parks. I know for me personally, Disneyland has changed my life, for the better of course!

 By now, most of you know my story: I didn't make my first visit to Disneyland until 2007. After that point, well, pretty difficult to imagine life WITHOUT Disneyland. For so many reasons, I owe Walt Disney a debt. By creating his wonderful Disneyland, Walt helped me find that inner child that I had once thought gone. Disneyland also created a huge bond between Joyce and me (not that we were EVER in danger of growing apart, trust me! We're soul mates!!), it gave us a HUGE common thread, something we could both dive head-first into TOGETHER. Up to that point, Joyce's fixation with Disney was a mystery to me. After that point, well, let's just say our house definitely looks like a place where true Disney lovers live! But it's more than just a fanaticism for an icon with us. Much more. Through Disney, and Disneyland, we have met some of the most awesome people - people who we are very proud to call friends, no, not friends...FAMILY.

Walt and the Main Street Station

Without even knowing me, Walt Disney also gave me a new purpose in my life. I truly believe in the Magic Walt Disney created. Magic he dearly loved to spread to others. In fact, both Joyce and I believe in that Magic so deeply that we built our now fairly popular podcast around it. I say popular not out of ego, but out of thanks to those of you who enjoy the Magic we share! We've built our mission statement, not just for the podcast but for every aspect of our "Disney Life" to reflect the sincere love we have for Disney and Disneyland, and the fond desire to spread that Magic to as many people as we can. And through this mission, we've met other Disney minded people, like Mr. Daps, Lisa Robertson, Randy Crane, Jason Gordon...and so many, many more, that we've realized that the word friend just doesn't cut it! They're our family.

So, as the world laments about the quickly fading number of days of shopping left until Christmas, some of us celebrate the birth of a man who, without knowing, improved the lives of so many others, including me! Happy Birthday Uncle Walt...and thank you for the Magic! ~~ Al

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happiest Blog On Earth...A Wonderful Cause

Hey gang, 
As many of you already know, my wonderful daughter Amanda is attending college back east for a career in the medical field. She has a terrific giving spirit and has participated in many awesome causes. 

Well, she recently contact Joyce and me and told us all about this exceptionally heroic cause she is now spear-heading, to help increase the awareness of the global health crisis in the world we live in. So, to help raise some much needed money for this, she and her fellow Med-Students have started a totally awesome venture...Joyce and I had the honor of being her first customers, and we'll be launching a trivia contest soon to share some of these Disney inspired gems with some lucky winners! So, to tell you a bit more about this wonderful cause, here's Amanda:

The Master of Science in Anesthesia class of 2014 out of Cleveland, Ohio has begun a project to raise money to provide pulse oximeters to hospitals in economic hardship, but on a larger scale the mission is to also raise awareness for the shortfalls in global health. The LIFEBOX campaign has become the philanthropy initiative for the ASA and AAAA this year and MSA programs around the country are raising money to donate to the betterment of patient care. Lifebox is an organization that produces portable pulse oximeters and donates them along with training and user guides as well as the World Health Organizations standards for patient care.

Badge Clips Make GREAT Holiday Gifts!
Our program, headed by the philanthropy chair Amanda Kessel, is selling retractable badge clips adorned with the colorful array of drug caps we pop off in the OR. We have spent weeks gathering caps and decorating our badge clips to bring to you a spectrum of creative designs (and yes, we attempted and occasionally succeeded in making some more masculine for the gentlemen out there). The clips will be sold for $5/piece and 100% of the proceeds will be going directly to Lifebox. We will be selling the clips at our respective rotation sites up until March when our philanthropy year ends, at which point our progress will be presented at the AAAA meeting in Florida.

In trying to create a design that would appeal to the masses we thought to ourselves; what symbol could be universal so that everyone would want a piece to carry with them daily. DISNEY OF COURSE. Itʼs not just that Mickey is a symbol of that youthful imagination and magic we know so well, but cʼmon theyʼre adorable and oh so colorful! Besides that, the Walt Disney Company also propagates the message of making lasting and positive changes in communities throughout the world, something that you would be contributing to directly with your purchase!
For more information on Lifebox, you can visit their website at Online donations can be made on the site BUT if you do decide to take this route we only get credit if you include Case Cleveland MSA Program in the comments section of the donation.

Any other questions can be directed to Amanda Kessel by email at . Thank you for your support!
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”- Gandhi

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happiest Blog On Earth...Are You BRAVE Enough?

So lads and lasses, are YE BRAVE start a brand new Holiday tradition at YOUR table? Well, it's pretty easy...if you know where to get your inspiration! And Disney/Pixar's Brave has just the tips to help you make your holiday table one that all the Clans will envy!

In Disney/Pixar's Brave, our heroine Merida sets out on a perilous journey to set her own path in life, to be her own person. Set in Scotland, in a rugged and mythical time, Brave is a beautiful and inspirational movie that introduces viewers to the wonderful world of Gaelic lore, family traditions and KILTS! What's better than that? How about starting your VERY OWN Holiday Traditions based on Disney/Pixar's Brave?

Disney/Pixar is sharing a myriad of ways to bring the beautiful world of Scotland to YOUR holidays with some Brave inspired tips. Everything from how to host and plan a family dinner complete with printable and fun name cards, napkin holders and authentic Scottish recipes (alas, no Haggis recipe! Trust me, Haggis IS good...I'm I know!). 

And while you're at it, no Scottish Clan Gathering is complete without a traditional Scottish Jig! What's that? You don't know how? No worries, the link below also includes a step by step (yes, pun intended) guide on how to dance the Highland Scottische that will have EVERYONE leaping to their feet for a twirl, even your grumpy old uncle Jed! 

Just click on the link below and download your very own Scottish Holiday Tradition NOW! And, be sure to pick up YOUR copy of the new Disney/Pixar movie Brave, available on Blu-Ray/3D Blu-Ray/DVD and Digital Download combo pack! Thanks and Slainte! ~~Al 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happiest Blog On Earth...Ayres Hotel Anaheim

A GREAT Off-Property Alternative...     

By now, most of you know that Joyce and I love staying at the On-Property Hotels at the Disneyland Resort. Our favorite of course is the Grand Californian. I don't like using this word often, but I do use it to describe this hotel - elegant! How else would you describe this place? Don't get me wrong, the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier are awesome as well, just in different ways. I could go on, but this isn't about the Resort's about the next best thing: Ayres Hotels of Southern California -   Anaheim. 

Ayres Hotel Anaheim
Ok, truthfully, it IS kind of spendy to stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel. I won't lie. If you can afford to do it all the time, awesome! If not, then you're like most of us. So, on our most recent visit to the Disneyland Resort, Joyce and I had a serious talk about where to stay. We WANTED to stay at a Resort Hotel, but it just wasn't in the budget this trip. So, we began looking at the "Good Neighbor" hotels, and found a lot of nice places...but they still carried that spendy price tag. So, we decided to expand our search a little. Of course, the farther away from the Parks you go, the less expensive, that's pretty logical. But the farther you go, the less convenient it is. Again...pretty logical. We wanted to save some money, but at the same time wanted to be close to the Resort. So Joyce remembered this chain of hotels she came across when we were looking for a place to stay when we visited Coronado. The Ayres Hotels of Southern California. She found that there was one only two miles from Disneyland! And, right off the interstate! Two BIG pluses. She got on their website, showed me the photos - very nice - and of course, read the reviews. And let me tell you, we were hard pressed to find ANYTHING negative. Oh there were a few things: room was too loud (uh, right off the interstate dude), and the room was too hot (I'll reply to that comment in a moment). So we decided to book our room. 

The reservation process was super easy. We reserved a King Room, nothing special. About a week before our vacation, they sent us an email confirming everything. First, let me tell you, getting there was almost too easy! The hotel is located literally right off the interstate, across the street from the Honda Center on Katella Avenue in Anaheim. As we pulled into the drive-way, we were both blown away by how beautiful the place is. The exterior of the Hotel is truly beautiful, the grounds are well kept, clean. As we walked in to the lobby, once again, blown away! Beautifully ornate fireplace going; comfy regal looking chairs around it; inviting seating areas. The whole package. Check-in was one of the best experiences we've ever had. Second only to the Grand Californian. Seriously. The girl who processed our check-in was extremely friendly, welcomed us to the Hotel and to California, answered all questions we had, then gave us a detailed map of the grounds and where our room was located. Ok, on to the room.
King Bed Room - VERY comfortable bed

Or room was located on the third floor. And although we booked a standard king, the room we walked in to was far from that. Our king sized bed was THE most comfortable bed I've experienced (made it difficult to get up in the morning!), very comfy leather easy chair, awesome sofa, small table and chairs for dining, business desk and comfortable chair, 32" flat screen TV (yeah!) and honestly, the bath area was beautiful too. There was also a kind of wet-bar area, with a microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker and a small sink. Oh, and one of the coolest things: next to the bed, an iHome MP3 alarm clock/radio where you could plug your iPhone or iPod into! And of course, free Wi-Fi, which came in handy because our AT&T Mi-Fi's (personal wi-fi devices), couldn't find a signal! Our room had an awesome view as well. We faced the direction of Disneyland (and the interstate), and didn't really realize how wonderful this was until Monday night, when Disneyland launched the Halloween Fireworks Show. We could see it from our room! BONUS!!
Sitting/Dining/Wet Bar Area

The hotel offered free parking and a daily free buffet style breakfast. Now, the parking was great. Convenient and safe, well lit. The breakfast, well, although I'm sure it's very good, Joyce and I are a little picky about our dining experiences, I don't know, maybe we've watched too many of those Mystery Diner shows on the Food Network! So, since we weren't even aware of the free breakfast, we just skipped that perk and ate at the Park. So, on to the negative comments we've read about the Ayres. One of the comments was that the hotel was too loud, too much traffic noise. Uh...right off the interstate! Yes, we could hear some traffic noise, but honestly, it wasn't bad at all. On a scale of 1-5 for loudness, I'd say our room was about a 1.75. Believe me, because we record podcasts I'm VERY sensitive to external noise! The second complaint was that the room was too hot. Uh, nope! Now maybe something has changed since that reviewer stayed, but if anything, our A/C worked TOO WELL!! It was at times, COLD. We had to bundle up in bed...but that's not necessarily a bad thing!  Now, the rooms are eco-friendly, there's a device on the wall as you enter where you have to put one of your room key cards in, in order to have the power in the room active. This is so if you're gone for a long time, you're not wasting electricity. So, it's obvious that if you remove the card, the power goes out, as does the A/C. So maybe that contributed to the heat in the room? For our visit, neither of these negative comments were validated at all.  
Cozy Dining Area

The whole place, including the rooms, is decorated in a European inspired look, and it kind of gives you the feeling you're in a cross between a Disneyland Resort Hotel and the Bellagio in Las Vegas!  The entire place was very comfortable, very clean, very inviting, very convenient. One thing that did kind of strike me as odd: the Ayres Hotel IS a Disney Good Neighbor Hotel, however, it's not advertised in any Disney media as such. Why? In my opinion, Ayres is much nicer, cleaner and affordable than MANY of the Good Neighbor Hotels within walking distance to the Resort. This hotel certainly aligns with that wonderful Disney Customer Service Magic. 

Nice, Clean Bath Area
Joyce and I will certainly be returning to the Ayres Hotel Anaheim in the future. The price is perfect for anyone, especially those going to the Disneyland Resort on a budget. But the great thing is, IF you ARE on a budget, staying here you won't have to give up comfort, convenience and elegance (there's that word again!) in favor of money. You get the best of all worlds here. And they usually have awesome package deals, or discounts available. Joyce and I took advantage of their Autumn Special when we went, and currently they're running similar specials. Just check out their website for complete details ( Since hotel reviews are new for me, I'm going to create a new rating scale: instead of 1-4 stars, I'm giving 1-4 E-Tickets (with one being STAY AWAY and four being STAY HERE!). So, Ayres Hotels of Southern California - Anaheim receives 4 E-Tickets from Tales From The Mouse House! ~~ Al 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tales From The Mouse House...Episode 58

Welcome to episode 58 of Tales From The Mouse House Disneyland Podcast! On this episode, we have our awesome friend and sponsor Randy Crane join us to discuss his brand new book - Once Upon YOUR Time, 7 Strategies For Gaining Control Of Your Time Through A Tour Of The Magic Kingdom. In Randy's new book, he reinforces his effective strategies by using real-world examples from Disneyland to illustrate key strategies to help you gain, or re-gain control of your most precious possession: your TIME! 

In our Disneyland Resort News, we update you on all the interesting things making news at the Resort, including Thanksgiving at Disneyland, BIG changes to the Candlelight Ceremony and some very important news about Multi-Day Park Tickets you're going to want to know about.

We also cover some pretty cool places in our Review segments. In Attraction Reviews, we introduce you all to one of the brand new attractions in Cars Land - Mater's Junkyard Jamboree! This toe-tapping, downright fun attraction is a great time for the whole family! And we're sure by now most of you have heard that the FIRST EVER Starbucks inside a Disney Park is NOW OPEN in Disney California Adventure! YEAH...well, we give you our take on this long-awaited icon of caffeinated delight and if it's a great addition to the Disneyland Resort or...if it's a bust (right, guess which way WE went on that one!) 

AND...big news...we announce the winner of our totally awesome Secret Of The Wings 3D/Blu Ray/DVD/Digital Download Combo Pack trivia contest! YEAH!!

As always, If you’d like to send in comments for the show, you can send us an email to, leave us voicemail on the Hotline at 304-TALES23, leave us feedback in iTunes or leave comments for us on our Twitter account @talespodcast. Heck, you can even find us on FaceBook, just search for Tales From The House House - Disneyland podcast! If you'd like to listen to the show, you can find it on iTunes, on our podcast site at, the direct episode link: Episode 58, or on Stitcher Radio now! Just visit and search for Tales From The Mouse House - Disneyland Podcast!

Thanks for making us part of your Disney experience and remember…
"Make It A Mickey Day!" ~~ Al & Joyce

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Happiest Blog On Earth...Wreck It Ralph

"I'm Gonna Wreck It!" ~~ Wreck-It Ralph

It really takes a lot for me to go out to a movie. They cost a lot more than they used to and BOY, if you want popcorn and a soda...well, prepare to sell a vital organ! But, every now and then, a movie comes along that really catches my attention. And at the D23 Expo in August, 2011, just such a movie did just that. 

When Joyce and I visited the Expo last year, one of the panels we enjoyed was the Inside The Walt Disney Studio panel. In this unbelievably incredible event, representatives from Disney talked about many of their upcoming movies, many of which were completed and just awaiting release. We were also shown a clip of an animated movie that wasn't completed at the time, some of the rendering was "glitchy", and some of the animation kind of flat. But, what we saw really grabbed us. The story line felt familiar. Not in the, Oh I've seen THIS plot before, way, but in more of a, familiar surroundings sort of way. Comfortable. That movie of course was Wreck It Ralph. Familiar because this film is set in the imaginative world of arcade games! A world I was completely immersed in during my youth...and unfortunately for Joyce, still am to this day!

Wreck It Ralph, as you may have guessed, brings to life the world of video games, where, after the arcade closes for the day, "Game Central Station" comes alive with characters from our favorite video games, including cameos from Sonic The Hedgehog, Q-Bert and more. Ralph is the villain in 30 year old (but still fairly popular) arcade game called Fix It Felix. It's Ralph's job to wreck the apartment building the good citizens all live in, and of course, it's up to Felix to repair all Ralph's damage with his magic hammer. For 30 long years, Ralph has lived in Felix's shadow. Every night after the arcade closes, the good citizens celebrate Felix's heroism, while poor Ralph is banished to his rubble-pile home. Then, for the 30th anniversary of Fix It Felix, Ralph sees that the citizens have thrown a huge party for Felix, complete with CAKE, but have neglected to include Ralph - without whom there would be NO game. As Ralph attempts to crash the party, he's informed that he's the bad guy, only the bad guy and will be nothing more. Of course, this does not sit well with our hero...err, I mean villain. 

So, Ralph decides he's tired of playing the role of bad-guy and takes matters into his own hands and sets out to prove everyone wrong. And that's where things get interesting! Now, I'd go into deeper detail, but I'd rather YOU go see this movie yourselves. spoilers here!

Wreck It Ralph is without doubt one of the best movies we've seen in a long time. The animation is fantastic and the 3D version is amazing. As is usual, Disney paid so much attention to detail in this film that you almost forget it's animation - until Ralph knocks down a building! This film appeals to all ages really, and it's truly appropriate for everyone. The story is terrific, but beyond that, there is a touching and heartwarming message. See, Ralph is frustrated with his "lot in life", of not being appreciated. So he sets out to find the one thing that he feels will make others view him in a better light, but what he ends up finding is much, much more. As silly as it may sound, this movie actually has a deep personal and social meaning for me. In life, we tend to type-cast those around us as WE feel they are, not as they ARE. Just because someone plays the role of villain in life does not necessarily make them a villain. We all must look past what we see on the surface and look INSIDE of others, if we truly want to know them. What's that old saying..."Judge not lest YE be judged...". 

Wreck It Ralph offers a great escape from the real world, if only for a short time (something Disney is absolutely perfect at giving us). Yet it also serves up some valuable lessons, not just for the young ones but for adults as well. Without realizing we've just been schooled, Disney has created a great portal to teach everyone the value of others, to look past what we see, and see others as they are deep down. And when a movie can make me feel good about learning something, AND entertain me...well, full endorsement from me!  And you thought it was just another cute cartoon!  I highly recommend Disney's Wreck It Ralph to everyone. If I had a movie rating scale, of, oh, say 1-5 "Disneyland E-Tickets", I'd give Wreck It Ralph 5!  ~~ Al 

Pixie Tales...Story Telling, Through Music

The lyrics to a song can often tell a story or convey the message that one could not put in words.  When I listen to Disney Movie Soundtracks or Disneyland Resort Music it brings back some memories. 

Today I was listening to Pandora and Phil Collins’ you’ll be in my heart, from the Tarzan soundtrack was playing and I thought of the story Tim O’Day told at the D23 Expo.  The story took place shortly after 9/11 attack and he was walking through the Park and saw a crying women sitting in Town Square.  He stopped to talk to her and she shared that the world was in such turmoil, there was so much sadness because of what happened, that she felt she had to be here in Disneyland, had to be in a place that was built for HAPPINESS. Walt will always be with us and bring his magic to the Park.

I'll be with you
I'll be there for you always
Always and always
Just look over your shoulder
Just look over your shoulder
Just look over your shoulder
I'll be there always

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies and the Chorus of “Be Our Guest” always reminds me of how I feel when I hear the “chirp” as my entry to the Happiest Place on Earth is granted.  “Be our guest! Be our guest! get your worries off your chest....How could anyone be gloomy or depressed?  This describes how I feel when I see the Disneyland Train Depot, the berm and the plaque that reads, “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.”  Walt built Disneyland so children and parents could have fun together.

At the young age of 4, I had my first Disneyland experience and from that moment on my life was immersed in everything Disney.  I loved Mickey Mouse, the Mickey Mouse Club, and could not wait for our next trip to Disneyland. Growing up in Indiana, we traveled as often as we could; however, when Disney World opened in 1971 we visited and due to the close proximity it was more affordable for a family of 6 to visit.  Either way, as Ariel from the Little Mermaid Movie sings, Disneyland and Disney World are most definitely “Part of My World” and I visited often until I graduated from HIgh school.  

I wanna be where the people are
I wanna see, wanna see them dancin'
Walking around on those - what do you call 'em?
Oh - feet!
Flippin' your fins, you don't get too far
Legs are required for jumping, dancing
Strolling along down a - what's that word again?
Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wanderin' free - wish I could be
Part of that world

Even after high school, Disney was a huge part of my life even though I was not able to visit the Park. Believe it or not, I spent a quarter of a century away from any Disney Resort Park. I kept dreaming that one day I would be able to return and share the magic of the Park with my Husband, Al. In 2007, that dream came true and I share my Happy Place with the love of my life to makes me the Happiest person in the world.  

A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you're fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true

No matter how old I get, I will always be a child at heart and when I visit the place Walt built for you and me, I will always respect and honor him.  His Dedication Day speech has been etched in my memory and Disneyland will always be a source of joy and inspiration to me. I want to share my love for Disney with everyone so they can experience the magic and happiness that I cannot express in words alone.  I hope you enjoyed this story through music. I will leave you with one last thing..Disney, you will always have a friend in me.

And as the years go by
Boys, our friendship will never die
You're gonna see
It's our destiny
You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me
You've got a friend in me

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happiest Blog On Earth...Tinker Bell & the Secret Of The Wings

Well, Joyce and I had an awesome time on our recent Disneyland Resort vacation! Met up with a few of our good friends, Mr. Daps, Julie and her husband Jason (our favorite Cast Member), and our great friend and Podcast Sponsor Randy Crane. We also (finally) got to visit Cars Land and Buena Vista Street! Two AWESOME new additions to the Disneyland Resort, over in California Adventure. We made many great new memories this trip, but I think that the one memory that will stand above just about everything is something we were blessed to be part of on our last day at the Resort. An event that both Mr. Daps (from Daps Magic) and Lisa Robertson (from Babes In Disneyland blog) asked us to cover for their respective sites: the media event covering the release of Disney's newest Tinker Bell movie - Secret Of The Wings. This was our very first media event, and hopefully, just the start of a wonderful media relationship with the Disney Company and Disneyland. I'd like to share with you our write-up and coverage of this awesome event:

Tinker Bell’s Winter Wonderland Comes to Downtown Disney
By Al Kessel - Tales From The Mouse House Disneyland Podcast

On October 23, 2012, DisneyToon Studios released the fourth installment of their popular straight to DVD animated film series based on the Disney Fairies franchise, starring the mischievous, and lovable, Tinker Bell. This time, Tink ventures into the forbidden world and discovers a Frost Fairy named Periwinkle, who shares some remarkably familiar traits with our Tinker-Talented Fairy. Disney’s Secret Of The Wings introduces fans of this beloved series to their newest Fairy - Periwinkle (voiced by Lucy Hale), who has a talent for creating frost and winter wonderlands whenever and wherever she desires. 

To celebrate the release of this newest film, Downtown Disney has created a brand new guest experience - Ice Skating in Tinker Bells Winter Woods, the Winter Wonderland that Tinker Bell experiences in her new film. 

The ceremony opened with Tinker Bell and Periwinkle performing a brief dance on the small stage set up in the middle of the Ice Rink. As they exited the Rink, Disneyland Resort Ambassador Rene Torrico welcomed guests to Downtown Disney and revealed the premise of Tinker Bells’ latest adventure. Torrico then introduced Vice President of Resorts Daniel Delcourt and Downtown Disney’s General Manager Janet Knox to dedicate the new Ice Rink. Delcourt welcomed guests and thanked Downtown Disney Cast Members for all their hard work in bringing this wonderful new opportunity to Disney Resort guests, followed by Knox’s dedication of the Ice Rink for family and friends to enjoy a piece of Tinker Bells’ Winter Wonderland. Secret Of The Wings director Peggy Holmes, and producer Michael Wigert then described the new film and how Tink learns to ice skate, and with the opening of the new Ice Rink, Resort guests can now experience that same feeling. 

Finally,  Rene Torrico returned to the stage to thank guests for joining them for the event and as he spreads a little Fairy Dust, like magic Tinker Bell and her Pixie Sister Periwinkle return to the stage for a dramatic Fairy dance to officially unveil this newest Resort experience. 

 A first for Southern California’s Downtown Disney District, the Ice Rink is made from real ice, not synthetic ice, which, according to Janet Knox, Downtown Disney’s General Manager, was an important detail to offer guests. Knox stated that there are many who visit Downtown Disney who may never have had the experience of skating on “real ice”.  This attention to detail brings an air of nostalgia to those guests who may have grown up with experiences such as this, allowing them to share with their children the family fun and adventure they had growing up. 

The Rink took about two weeks to assemble and is kept at a chilling six degrees by a massive “Chiller Machine” discreetly hidden behind the rental shacks. Knox also stated that Disney has wanted to offer a family activity to guests such as the Ice Rink for years, but never really had the perfect story to share. However, with the introduction of the new Tinker Bell story, they now had the perfect story to tell. Knox hinted that it may very well be the vision of VP of Resorts Delcourt to eventually expand the Ice Rink to a more elaborate Holiday Village should the Ice Rink prove successful.

The Ice Rink will operate through the beginning of January, 2013, and for the Holidays, Downtown Disney will open several shopping and food chalets for Resort guests to linger through while enjoying the atmosphere of the Ice Rink. 

Each skating session lasts 60 minutes and will cost $15.00 for adults and $12.00 for children ages 2 to 12. The Ice Rink will also offer rental skates for $3.00 and for the younger skaters, Disney offers double-bladed skates. Hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday 11:00 AM to 9:30 PM, Friday and Saturday 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM. The Ice Rink does require all skaters to wear an approved helmet for safety reasons. Every 30 minutes the Ice Rink will offer their “WOW” moment, in the form of a whimsically choreographed light display set to the Secret Of The Wings song The Great Divide, by the McClain Sisters. 

After the event, Director Peggy Holmes and Producer Michael Wigert stated that being part of the Disney Fairies franchise is both an honor and terrific opportunity allow fans to learn more about Tinker Bell and her Fairy friends. Wigert also hinted that we have not seen the last of the world of Pixie Hollow.

To view a short video we produced on the event, just click play below!