Tag Archives: Anaheim

Add A New Element Of Fun To Disneyland With Wishing Stars

I was originally planning on spending today at Disneyland with a friend and possibly some others, however my friend had to cancel earlier this week, so since I had my heart set on going up to Disneyland and I was going to be going by myself, I opted to go yesterday instead of today as it would just work out better for me. And while I was there I took the opportunity to play a wonderful iPhone app game designed to be played at Disneyland called “Wishing Stars.”

The concept of the game is that several “Wishing Stars” have been broken up and scattered throughout the Disneyland park. In order to find them, you have to take your iPhone to the location of the clues and hit the “I think I’m standing in front of it!” button. You can’t cheat because the app uses the GPS built into the iPhone to verify that you’re standing in the correct spot. It won’t accept your attempt to stand in front of the correct answer unless you actually are in front of it. Essentially its a GPS based treasure hunt. The game is the perfect addition to Disneyland for an Annual Passholder who finds themselves wanting something more to do within the park besides the rides.

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Paramount Builds Theme Restaurants Of Entertainment Properties

Following the great day at Disneyland to celebrate my friend Robert Shadbolt’s birthday, our group decided on dinner at Anaheim’s Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant. The chain of Bubba Gump restaurants takes it’s name and inspiration from the 1994 Forrest Gump film originally directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks in the title role. As a themed restaurant, Bubba Gump offers a seafood dining menu in addition to a themed gift shop and effectively offering a unique way to keep the spirit of Forrest Gump alive and well in the mind of consumers long after the original theatrical run of the film.

According to the press kit, Paramount Pictures originally approached Rusty Pelican Restaurants, Inc. about extending the brand of Forrest Gump into the realm of casual family dining. And by 1996, the very first Bubba Gump Shrimp Company themed restaurant opened it’s doors in Montery, California. The company specifically targets tourist destinations for their restaurants, such as the Anaheim location which is a couple of blocks away from Disneyland, and other locations including Universal’s City Walk in both Hollywood and Orlando, Times Square in New York, Pier 39 in San Francisco, and the Mall of America in Minnesota. Bubba Gump is Paramount’s most successful foray into themed restaurant licensing, but wasn’t the first.

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Spending My Birthday At The Disneyland Resort (Part 1)

Disneyland Birthday ButtonWhen it was announced in 2008 that the Disney Resorts would be offering free admission to one park for people to celebrate their birthday in 2009, I knew I was going to make plans to enjoy Disneyland for my birthday. It’s not the first time I’ve spent my birthday at Disneyland. The last time was in 2004 back when I last had an annual pass to the parks. I was excited to come to Disneyland for my birthday as I haven’t been to the park since right around the time Space Mountain was re-opening following two years of being closed to completely replace the tracks.

I posted a note on my Twitter account to see if any of my friends would be free and available to join me at Disneyland, and I suppose the one thing as you get older is that the responsibilities of the real world doesn’t always allow your friends to come play with you in an amusement park on a “work” day during the week. So aside from several notes of regret of not being able to come from local friends and notes from international friends where the travel distances were prohibitive of being able to come, it was looking like I’d be doing the park on my own. No big deal as far as I’m concerned, I’ve never been the type of person to allow the fact others couldn’t come to stop me from enjoying the things I want to do. Besides, I’ve done the Disney parks several times on my own when I last had annual passes, sometimes I’d end up at the parks on a whim and would have no time to invite others anyway.

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An Afternoon At Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott's Berry FarmAs part of my birthday celebration, I planned to get a room up in Anaheim for the night of September 2nd, so that on my birthday I could get an early start at Disneyland. Since went ahead and booked a room through Priceline and got a great deal on a hotel, the decision to be made was should I just head up early in the afternoon, or go up in the evening. I thought I might consider going into Disney a day early but didn’t really want to spend that much money as a day at Disneyland isn’t cheap.

After passing by the discount wall at work, I saw they had coupons for Knott’s Berry Farm that would drop the admission price down to $29.99 from the regular $52.99 price, so it sounded like it might be worth doing since I haven’t been to Knott’s Berry Farm in at least a decade or so. It could be fun. Well the only thing that had me a little concerned was I wasn’t sure what time I would get to the park because I had a few errands to run after work before I could finally hit the road and get there. The concern was due to the fact the park was only staying open until 6pm. This just seemed crazy to me as it’s still technically summer, and labor day isn’t until this coming weekend, so the early closing time sounds a little premature.

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Arrival Brings A Touch Of Sweden To The San Diego County Fair

Arrival at the San Diego County FairI think in large part due to the phenomenal success of “Mamma Mia! The Movie” last summer which was released shortly after last year’s San Diego County Fair concluded, the organizers of the San Diego County Fair thought it fitting to bring in an ABBA tribute band as a headlining act for the 2009 San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Fortunately the organizers picked what I consider to be the world’s best ABBA tribute band out there. That tribute band is Arrival, who like ABBA, also originate from Sweden and the show Arrival is touring under is called “The Music Of ABBA”.

Headed by Vicky Zetterberg (who portrays Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad) and joined by Jenny Gustafsson (who portrays Agnetha Fältskog), Arrival brought a wonderful touch of Sweden to San Diego, not once, but twice with two shows on July 2, 2009. The afternoon show began at 2pm and while the program states the afternoon concerts are hour long shows, Arrival played for a full two hours bringing a complete ABBA show to those down at the fair early enough to catch the afternoon show. I was personally fighting with traffic and the whole mess with parking so I didn’t make it to the Heineken Grandstand Stage until 2:30pm but I did get there. Arrival were performing “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” as I arrived.

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Arrival Brings The Best ABBA Tribute Show To Anaheim

Ryan Cameron Meets Arrival in Anaheim, October 12, 2008On October 12, 2008, I had the opportunity to catch Arrival for the second time when they were performing at The Grove, in Anaheim. This time it was Arrival without the Austin Symphony Orchestra like the week before.

Prior to the show I met up with Los Angeles area ABBA fans, Rod, Fiona, and Pepe. We all met up before hand at the Virgin Megastore, nearby at The Block shopping center. It seemed to be an ideal meeting place with a few options to pick for dinner. We ended up getting a table at the TGI Friday’s restaurant that was in the outer rim of the mall parking lot.

By the time we made it over to the venue we had a small line to deal with at the box office for the will call tickets. The line was being held up by some guy who bought the premium tickets which included a dinner before the show, but he didn’t know it included the dinner and was trying unsuccessfully to get a credit back due to his inability to show up on time for the dinner. In the process of his arguing with the lady in the will call booth, he caused a lot of people behind him, including us, to miss the opening song. It was a good way through “Hey, Hey, Helen” before we were finally in the building and shown to our seats. Surprisingly the seating in the venue was very reminiscent of Las Vegas style showroom seating with tables basically designed for dining, but really lousy for looking at the stage. Despite the shortcoming of the venue layout, we weren’t there for that, we were there to see Arrival!

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Go See Arrival – The Best ABBA Tribute Band Ever

Arrival is an ABBA Tribute Band that originates from Sweden. They are currently touring the US in a show entitled “The Music of ABBA Featuring Arrival” and I just had the pleasure of seeing them Saturday night in Austin, Texas where they performed with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. And Arrival were absolutely amazing. They definitely earn the title of best ABBA tribute band in the world that my friends at the headquarters of ABBAMAIL.com have bestowed upon this tribute band.

I was so moved by their performance that I opted to write about their show for my October column for ABBAMAIL.com and if you want to read a more in depth review of my experience, click here to read my ABBAMAIL column. If you want just a nutshell version, just keep reading here.

While there are many ABBA tribute bands out there, the one thing you’re guaranteed is a chance to see a bunch of people dress up in costumes and perform a concert of ABBA songs. However, the quality of that experience varies greatly. There are some very good ABBA tribute bands (such as Arrival and Waterloo) and some very bad ABBA tribute bands (such as Björn Again).

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Dolly Parton Ties for 1st Place with Corey Hart

Last night, Dolly Parton tied with Corey Hart as big name performer/act I’ve seen the most times in concert. Her performance at Humphrey’s By The Bay in San Diego, brings the total of times I’ve seen Dolly Parton in concert up to a total of four times. While four doesn’t sound like a lot, but for me, most artists, I’m quite content to say I’ve seen them once and that’s enough.

Corey Hart is an especially significant act for me because one of his concerts was the very first time I ever went to a concert. I first got to see him way back in early 1986 when his tour of Canada promoting his “Boy In The Box” album finally hit Calgary. I loved the energy and it was just an amazing experience to see. I kind of lost touch with Corey Hart and his music after having moved to Southern California in summer of 1986 until the mid 1995 when I joined an ABBA mailing list of all things and met an Australian online, Luke Rogers, who posted a profile and stated Corey Hart was another artist he really liked and that became a catalyst to striking up a conversation with him.

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