Live Events

Princesses on Broadway

I was appalled to learn that the beautiful Broadway actress, Diana Huey, was dealing with disgusting racist comments about being an Asian American cast in the role of my favorite princess in the touring production of The Little Mermaid. The play had a short-lived run on Broadway in 2007 before several songs were cut and a few were added for the tour. Diana is one of many women to portray Ariel, but one of very few women of color to do so. A few days ago, she wrote a beautiful Facebook post highlighting her concerns on the matter, which made me love her even more. I think she makes a beautiful mermaid princess. The Broadway stage is notoriously color blind. It values singing, dancing, and acting skills above all else. Princesses come in all colors, shapes and sizes.

Princess stories have a long history of being portrayed onstage. One of the most famous productions is Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, which debuted as a live TV special starring Julie Andrews in 1957.  The show …

Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade XX

Have you ever wished you could put on a princess dress and fly away to a magical realm where anything is possible? The Labyrinth Masquerade Ball is the closest thing you can get to that, and it just came back to the Millenium Biltmore Hotel here in Los Angeles for its twentieth year! My husband I had the pleasure of being among its may attendees last night. As a bonus, it even gave me a rare excuse to wear my wedding dress again. I was surprised how many compliments I got on it, considering how many elaborate fantasy and faery costumes there were.

Beginning in 1997, the Labyrinth of Jareth was inspired by the masquerade scene featuring the late David Bowie in Jim Henson's 1986 film, Labyrinth. In order to recreate the dreamlike quality of the film, the event requires all attendees to wear either formal attire and masks or elaborate fantasy costumes. People go all out for this each year, donning tons of glittery, enormous wings, face paint, light-up props, and anything else you cou…

Theme Park Princesses

Yesterday, I talked about how much fun it can be to dress up as a princess for a day. Meeting princesses can be just as much fun. In fact, it's my absolute favorite thing to do when I visit the Disney Parks. I have an endless library of photos I've had taken with all of the Disney Princesses. It is the closest thing to being able to hang out with a cartoon character in real life. Disney performers are also not allowed to tell people that they play a character and must instead say that they are "friends" with that character, making the magic of meeting them feel that much more authentic.

I have visited both American Disney parks countless times, and I have also been to Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. I've seen the parks go through many changes over the years, mostly for the better. Princesses have grown exponentially in popularity, so Walt Disney World and Disneyland have been working hard to accommodate for this by building nicer rooms to meet the princess…

The Little Mermaid Special That's Not Airing Tonight

Earlier this year, ABC made an announcement that they would be airing a special tonight featuring live performances of Disney's The Little Mermaid called The Little Mermaid Live! The special was presumably to follow in the footsteps of a tradition NBC reinstated with Peter Pan LIVE! in 2014 in which they would air a live performance of a well-known musical once a year. Appropriately enough, this tradition started with Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella in 1957 starring Julie Andrews as Cinderella. Julie just celebrated her 82nd birthday two days ago. FOX tried their hand at copying this tradition last year with Grease Live! to underwhelming success. I guess as the parent company of Disney, which is known for their musicals, ABC felt obligated to get the ball rolling on their own version of this.

Unfortunately, someone must have jumped the gun with The Little Mermaid Live! because only a few short months after its commencement, they announced that the project was pulled. The …

The Most Princess Things That Ever Happened at D23

Before we begin, I'd like to wish a very happy birthday to Jodi Benson, the voice of my favorite princess. Jodi is a regular attendee of the D23 Expo, and I was fortunate enough to see her perform there during the Disney Legend Awards ceremony. I've been talking about princess-themed events lately, and there's no bigger Disney Princess fan event out there than D23. It is the official convention for Disney fans that takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center every other year. The expo is the one chance that fans get to interact with the people who worked on their favorite movies and preview ones that are still in production. I have been to three of the five expos that have taken place since 2009. They also have a huge interactive exhibit floor where they sell new merchandise, display artwork, costumes, and props from movies, and hold autograph signings. It is the ultimate experience for any Disney fan.

D23 is the name of the official Disney fan club that the company estab…

New Disney Cruise Lines Beauty and the Beast Show

Earlier today, Disney Cruise Lines shared a sneak preview of their new Beauty and the Beast show on Facebook. Performances of the show started on the Disney Dream ship this past Monday. Beauty and the Beast has already had tons of stage adaptations including a pretty long run on Broadway a few years after the 1991 movie came out. It also had a smaller stage show at the theme park formerly known as MGM Studios in Florida. Considering everything that came before it, the new show runs the risk of coming off as a tired rehash. Fortunately, it introduces a new aesthetic based heavily on the 2017 live-action remake that prevents it from feeling like a copycat of its former incarnations. The new production also uses the aesthetic of cogs and gears from Maurice's music boxes to transition between scenes.

Broadway shows generally have a run time of two and a half hours, while theme park shows are closer to a half-hour or forty-five minutes. Cruise shows lie somewhere in the middle, so this…

November Princess Anniversaries

It's a big month for princess movies. Last week was the 28th anniversary of my favorite movie, The Little Mermaid. As I've discussed in a previous post, Disney is going all out this month to celebrate the 80th anniversary of their very first movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. On Monday night, Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City put on a live show to unveil their gorgeous window displays honoring the film. The displays are similar to the ones at the Emporium at the Disney Parks, but much larger in scale. They portray detailed animatronics of every major scene in the movie, from the wishing well to the fated kiss, as well as the new clothing designed specifically for the event.

The special, called "Once Upon a Holiday," was streamed live on YouTube and social media. Fans crowded around Fifth Avenue to see the Saks Fifth Avenue president give a moving speech about the film, followed by a choreographed performance from the Seven Dwarfs. Sofia Carson, who plays the Ev…

Review: The Broadway Princess Party

Tonight is the night you've been waiting for. I had (nearly) front row seats for Laura Osnes's Broadway Princess Party at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and I'm here to tell you all about it, as promised. Even though getting to Costa Mesa from Hollywood during rush hour was a bit of a hassle, it was completely worth the wait. Though tonight was the first of three performances only at the Segerstrom, the show has been traveling around in other places for roughly two years. Tonight's concert featured three very prestigious princesses of Broadway. Laura Osnes, the headliner, starred in a revival of Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Susan Egan, who needs no introduction but I'll give one anyway, is famous for originating the role of Belle on Broadway and doing the voice of Megara in Disney's animated 1997 feature, Hercules. Last but not least is Courtney Reed, who originated the role of Jasmine in Disney's new Broadway production of Aladdin.

The ven…

Pirate's Dinner Adventure vs. Medieval Times

Happy New Year, princess fans! I took a brief hiatus from Story Saturday over the holidays, but I'm back with more princess updates for you. Did you do anything exciting to celebrate the new year? I attended a dinner show at Medieval Times last night. It was a great way to ring in 2018. Last New Year's Eve, I went to Pirate's Dinner Adventure. While both shows have a princess in them and are set up very similarly, I believe that the Pirate's Dinner Adventure has more to offer to princess fans and in general. Both dinner experiences assign your party a color that determines which section of the room you will be sitting in and which knight or pirate you will be cheering for. Over the course of the show, wait staff in era-appropriate costumes serve food and drink while attempting not to interrupt your enjoyment of the main event.

The reason I think that Pirate's Dinner Adventure is superior to Medieval Times is that it tells more of a story and contains more dazzling …

Disney's Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending one of Walt Disney World's newest character dining experiences, the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at Disney's BoardWalk Inn. What makes this breakfast stand out from other theme park princess experiences such as Ariel's Grotto or Cinderella's Royal Table is that the Bon Voyage Breakfast allows you to meet two of the most popular Disney Princesses from their 1989 classic, The Little Mermaid, and their more recent 2010 hit, Tangled,along with their princes. Since romantic interests have become increasingly less popular as of late, opportunities to meet princes at the Disney Parks are extremely rare. That's why I was very excited to learn about the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast opening up at the Trattoria Al Forno restaurant about a year ago. Finally, I would have a guaranteed opportunity to meet Flynn Rider and Prince Eric alongside Rapunzel and Ariel. I remember how excited I was at the prospect of meeting Prince Eric whe…

Review: Aladdin The Musical

In 2003, an amazing stage show based on the 1992 animated classic opened at Disney's California Adventure park called Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular. Sadly, that show recently closed in 2016 and was replaced with a Frozen stage show. Now the only opportunity to see an official Disney stage production of Aladdin rests in the hands of the 2014 Broadway play, which I saw on tour tonight at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. This new musical production barely had a chance of winning my favor in my heart because I was already such a huge fan of the retired Disneyland version. My low expectations were barely met. I found the new musical to be inferior to the Disneyland show in every possible way.

I had a pleasant experience with the theater itself. It was my first time at the Pantages, even though I've lived in California for over seven years. The layout is very similar to Disney's El Capitan Theatre, where they screen the latest Disney movies. The theater staff was friendly, an…

Entwined Tales Launch Party on Facebook

I had a very interesting evening, celebrating the release of the Entwined Tales series on Facebook with the six lovely authors of the books from the series. I've never seen a release party quite like this before, but then, I've never seen a book series quite like this either. Each author has her own independent set of fairy tale novels, which brought them together based on their similar story content. They combined their talents to create an original series about a bumbling fairy godfather who goes around granting unwanted gifts to princesses from six different fairy tales. Some of the fairy tales they picked are rather obscure, such as "The Goose Girl" and "East of the Sun, West of the Moon," (which was turned into a live-action movie called The Polar Bear King in 1991, but I wasn't a fan of it). Of course, the one I'm looking forward to the most is inspired by my favorite fairy tale, "The Little Mermaid." On March 5th, A Little Mermaid b…

What Is Happening to the Disney Parks?

Change is not always a good thing. When it came to the Disney Parks of old, Walt only wanted to make changes that would support the advancement of technology, new movies, and the overall enjoyment of his guests. For a very long time after his passing, his philosophy seemed to remain in tact. In 2013, Walt Disney World did a complete redesign of their outdated Fantasyland in Florida. New Fantasyland was everything a modern princess could possibly want from a Disney park, with gorgeous real-life reproductions of locations from The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast along with stunning new rides featuring the latest in animatronic technology. Unfortunately, happy endings last forever, and many of the changes that the parks have made since then have not been for the betterment of the guests. Instead, they came as a result of business partnerships and corporate greed. These changes range from insane price hikes to the recent closing of my favorite restaurant in Disney's California…

The Renaissance Faire Is in Town!

Where can you go to get transported to the time of princesses and knights and have a whole lot of fun too? The Renaissance Faire, of course! If you've never been to a Faire before, you should definitely go at least once. It's a great opportunity to get out of the house and meet other fantasy aficionados while also having fun with history. Today I attended the opening weekend of The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale, California. It was my second time attending this particular Faire. They had many of the same booths, activities, and shows that I assume come back every year. This time, instead of wearing my generic Renaissance dress that I made in high school, I decided to cosplay with my husband as the Fairytale Designer versions of Ariel and Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid.

It was particularly fun to cosplay during opening weekend because most people save their character costumes for theme weekends. We got a lot of attention from fans of the movie who recogni…

Beauty and the Beast in Concert: Social Media Recap

As you may or may not be aware, there was a pretty big screening of Disney's Beauty and the Beast at the Hollywood Bowl this past Friday and Saturday. I wasn't there, so I can't give you a direct account of the experience like I did with their Little Mermaid concert, but I can save you a few hours of searching through social media and YouTube videos by summarizing my own findings. If you're wondering why I didn't bother buying tickets this year, it was a combination having already experienced my favorite movie at the Hollywood Bowl and not wanting to see Zooey Deschanel attempting to recreate Belle's soprano. To be honest, I wasn't even aware that she could sing before the casting announcements for this event were made. If they didn't want to cast the original voices from the movie, why couldn't they just get Susan Egan to play Belle? It shouldn't count that she did it on Broadway since Norm Lewis reprised his Broadway role as King Triton at the…

Cosplaying at the Broadway Princess Party

Some of you may recall reading about my experiences at the Broadway Princess Party last December at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. The show has picked up a lot of momentum since then. It now has a pages on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They have also extended their tour to even more venues across the country than ever. I didn't have a dire need to see the show again, but it was hard to resist when I learned that it was coming a local venue at half the price and encouraging cosplay with the incentive of prizes. Last night, I donned my Sofia the First dress, amulet, and tiara and headed out to Hollywood Improv to meet with a friend and see how the show has changed over the past few months.

The same three princesses were starring in the event as before--Laura Osnes, who headlined the revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella on Broadway, Susan Egan, who originated the role of Belle on Broadway and did the voice of Megara in Disney's Hercules, and

Tangled and Frozen Are Coming to Tokyo DisneySea!

There was a big announcement made earlier today that Tokyo DisneySea, my favorite theme park in the whole world, is getting a big expansion that will include life-sized replicas of locations from Tangled, Frozen, and Peter Pan! This is a huge deal. If you've never been to Tokyo DisneySea, you might not realize the scope of such an announcement. Essentially, Tokyo DisneySea is paradise on Earth. Everything they build looks both natural and magical at the same time. Even the Fantasyland expansion at Walt Disney World from five years ago doesn't compare to this. It was pretty amazing that they built facades of the castles from The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast along with some of Belle's village, but they were still just facades. Tokyo doesn't do facades. They either go big or go home.

This incredible themed port is expected to be completed by 2022. It is reported to be the largest expansion to Tokyo DisneySea ever and will include Arendelle Castle, Rapunzel'…

Medieval Times Has a New Queen!

At the beginning of the year, I made a post comparing Medieval Times to the similarly themed Pirate's Dinner Adventure. Shortly afterward, I learned that the dinner show at Medieval Times was being rewritten with a queen serving as hostess to replace the king and princess who had led the event in the past. The new plot revolved around the king dying in a war and his daughter taking over the kingdom as queen. It replaced the old version of the show little by little throughout the year at the various Medieval Times castles throughout the country. The actors who played the king retired and the actresses who played the princess were promoted to queen. I knew I needed to see this feminist revival of the story that boasted a new script, new costumes, new lighting, and new music, so I made plans to go back for my birthday. Today, I watched Queen Doña Maria Isabella take her place on the throne to assert her power during the traditional jousting tournament.

Most of the changes to the show…

Princesses Are From Disneyland!

"That's From Disneyland!" is a free pop-up exhibit at the Van Eaton Galleries all this month. It's now in its final few days, but you can still pop by for a quick look if you're local to Los Angeles. The display is an impressive collection of park paraphernalia from a man named Richard Kraft, who somehow managed to store wall-sized paintings, ride vehicles, and more in his home before offering it to the gallery for a limited time public display. When I got in the long line to see it, Richard made his way all the way down to the end to greet everyone and welcome them to see his collection. He asked what we were most looking forward to seeing, but no one was prepared to answer that since none of us had been inside yet. So, he gave a pop quiz and asked which of the following three items was not part of his collection: A Dumbo ride vehicle, a Mr. Toad's Wild Ride vehicle, or an Autopia ride vehicle. The lady behind me correctly guessed the Autopia one, and then h…

Mickey's Halloween Party Is a Great Place To Be a Princess!

Yesterday, my husband and I attended Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland to meet up with some friends. It wasn't my first time attending this event, but they had changed a few things since the last time I went. A ticket to Mickey's Halloween Party now grants admission to both Disneyland Park and Disney's California Adventure from three hours before the start time of the party until both parks close. The Florida equivalent of the event is Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, which I've also been to several times. One of the biggest benefits of these events was that they used to cover a half day in the parks including parking for slightly over half the price of a full-day ticket. Thanks to some unfortunate changes Disney has been making, admission is now practically the same as a full-day ticket and no longer includes parking. At least it gets you into both parks. The event itself is just as fun as ever. My husband and I attended dressed up as Fairytale Desi…

Princess Animatronics

There are many ways to find immersive princess experiences at the Disney Parks. The most common way is through meet'n'greets. They let you interact with the princess in real life, allowing you to ask them any question you can think of and learn how they might respond, not to mention the terrific photo ops. Another way is through dark rides, which is the official term for the slower rides at the parks that allow you to travel through movie scenes that are recreated by animatronics, a revolutionary technology that bring sculptures to live with mechanical movement and programming. All of the dark rides at the Disney Parks use animatronics for their constantly moving characters. Until a few years ago, the only Disney Princess dark ride that could be experienced in this way was Snow White's Scary Adventures. This ride was overseen by Walt Disney himself and is one of the few remaining rides that opened with Disneyland's launch in 1955. Even though it feels a little dated n…

Behind the Scenes at the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Finale Concert

Tomorrow night is the series finale of one of my favorite TV shows, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. At surface level, this show might seem to have nothing to do with princess culture, but it is actually a deconstruction of many of the less empowering tropes introduced in some older princess movies and romantic comedies while still embracing the traits of these passionate women that we can all connect with. The show features several princess-inspired music numbers as well as a made-up Disney Princess movie called Slumbered that the main character, Rebecca, supposedly grew up with. Series star and co-creator Rachel Bloom does everything for her fans just like a real-life princess would. That's why the series finale tomorrow night will be followed by a concert special that Rachel cordially invited all her fans in the Los Angeles area to attend as audience members. I just happened to be one of those lucky fans.

As you can see, this event was more than just a concert. Even though many people arri…

Jasmine's Solos Ranked

Another Aladdin production, another Jasmine song. With the recent addition of "Speechless," Jasmine has had a different solo song in every incarnation of the story. Yes, "A Whole New World" is consistently used as the romantic duet, but it is not seen as Jasmine's signature song in the same way that "Part of Your Wold," "Someday My Prince Will Come," or "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" is associated with their respective princesses because it is just as much Aladdin's song as it is Jasmine's. While Ariel and Rapunzel have many original solos scattered throughout The Little Mermaid and Tangled series, the Aladdin series sadly did not contain any original songs. As a result, Jasmine's songs are buried within so many different productions of Aladdin that even die-hard fans might have trouble finding them all. That's why I decided to compile this list of my top three Jasmine solos along with a little background on t…

Princesses of the Magic Kingdom

I just got back from Florida, and my trip would not have been complete without a visit to the Magic Kingdom! Ever since the 2013 Fantasyland expansion, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom has become the ultimate destination for theme park princesses. I noticed some changes to the princess attractions since my last trip. Unlike Disney Springs, these changes were all improvements. Instead of waiting in a long line to meet three princesses at random and hope to get the one you want, the princess meet'n'greets have been streamlined to specific spots for specific princesses, eliminating the guesswork and frustration of learning your favorite princess just got swapped with another one when you reached the front of the line.

As usual, Ariel is in her grotto next to her ride. You can meet her in mermaid form at Walt Disney World, as opposed to Disneyland in California, where she only makes appearances as a human. Belle comes out in the secret library through the magic portal in her …

The Little Mermaid 30th Anniversary Celebration and More at the D23 Expo

It has been a long and fruitful day at the D23 Expo in Anaheim. This weekend was the sixth biennial expo where Disney showcases all of their movies and merchandise that they have planned for the next two years. I skipped the previous expo in 2017, but I decided to stop by on the final day for this one to celebrate the 30th anniversary of my favorite movie, The Little Mermaid. I was fortunate enough to get a seat at this morning's anniversary celebration panel hosted by the voice of Ariel herself, Jodi Benson. The panel kicked off with a group of adorable little girls in Ariel costumes singing "Part of Your World" on faux rocks that lined the beautifully lit coral stage. Jodi Benson made a dramatic entrance in the middle of the song and accompanied the tiny Ariels. Then she interacted with a puppet version of Sebastian before introducing several of the people behind the film, including direct Ron Clements and animator Mark Henn, to share their stories.

The panel concluded…

The Princess and the Frog 10th Anniversary Celebration

It's a big year for princess anniversaries. I recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of The Little Mermaid at the D23 Expo with Jodi Benson, where they teased the upcoming live TV special with Auli'i Cravalho. To my delight, another one of my favorite princess movies also celebrated an anniversary last night at the prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Theater, which is used to screen films for Oscar consideration. In honor of the 10th anniversary of The Princess and the Frog, the theater opened to the public for the Marc Davis Celebration of Animation. Countless members of the cast and crew attended the screening, including Anika Noni Rose, who played Tiana, Keith David, who played Dr. Facilier, Jennifer Lewis, who played Mama Odie, composer Randy Newman, and director Ron Clements (John Musker did not attend this screening or The Little Mermaid celebration at D23). Can you believe it's already been ten years? It feels like just yesterday that I drove to my local Florida movie thea…

Review: Frozen Live at the Hyperion

It took me quite a while to get over the fact that Disney's California Adventure shut down their stellar Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular show that contained my absolute favorite Princess Jasmine solo to replace it with more Frozen hype. Frozen is not one of my favorites, but I tried to keep an open mind when I entered the newly renovated Hyperion Theater for Frozen Live. Gone was the beautiful Arabian architecture surrounding the stage in favor of a basic screen setup designed for CGI background projections to transform it into any Arendelle locale. I personally prefer the concrete sets of Aladdin that looked like you could reach right into them and enter the world of Agrabah. Hiding Arendelle behind a CGI mask only served as a reminder that the digital age is taking even more artistry away from us than just traditional animation.

Despite my caveats, I enjoyed the performance I saw yesterday due largely to the performers themselves. The actresses who played Anna and Elsa were on p…


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