After going off about the soon-to-be-released Mulan live-action adaptation, (and seeing that they are remaking the animated Robin Hood,) I do need to give credit where it’s due on that film because it does not have the issue that I most take with Disney’s live-action remake:
The live-action movies should be human stories. Any non-human characters are unsettling and live in the Uncanny Valley.
The example I get most heated about is the 2017 Beauty and the Beast remake. (I’ll talk about 2019’s Lion King in a minute.) When the movie was first announced, I’ll admit even I was excited, even about the casting of Emma Watson! (Who among us did not fall for that Tumblr rumor that she was cast years and years ago with Guillermo Del Toro to direct?) But then I saw the trailer… with the creepy live-action Mrs. Potts and Lumiere and Cogsworth…
I can never unsee them. I actually stopped wanting to see the movie and only watched it on a streaming service much later because my husband is a big Emma Watson fan. (I can’t get into the music in this post…) It is just really unnerving to have so much time spent on non-human characters.Read More »
Previously on Paris 2017, we wrapped our last day in Paris with a highly-anticipated engagement photoshoot, stocking up on French skincare items, and exploring Montmartre, mainly the Sacré-Cœur and Moulin Rouge.
TL;DR Disneyland Paris is a fun park to visit for fans, especially European ones, but not particularly impressive for folks who have visited American parks in the past. (I can’t speak to the Asian parks.)
Disney park tip: If possible, book your stay at a Disney property so you can take advantage of Extra Magic Hours and get into the park before it opens to the general public. This is definitely worthwhile if you want to maximize hours spent at the park and want to visit something that has a long line.
Disney day was upon us! Disneyland Paris is the only Disney park in Europe and consists of two parks: Walt Disney Studios Park and Disneyland Park. Disneyland Paris is currently celebrating it’s 25th anniversary, so the decorations have been updated for the occasion and some shows have been changed as well!
By the way, remember how it’s been rainy most days of our Paris trip? We experienced the heaviest rain on our Disney day and were greeted with this view of the castle when we walked into the park.
First stop, Sleeping Beauty’s castle itself in Disneyland Park!
I heard that one of the highlights of DLP (Disneyland Paris) is there is a dragon sleeping under the castle! We were on such a rush mission to see the dragon before a crowd grew around it and woke it up.
We walked around a bit and saw on the DLP app that Pirates of the Caribbean actually had nearly no line, so we hopped on to see if the ride was any different in France. It wasn’t, and I was slightly let down because some people cited this ride as a highlight of the park. Because of the glowing reviews of this ride (by people who’ve been to at least one American park), I started getting worried that this park didn’t really have a lot of novelty to offer.
Afterwards, we grabbed some quick bites via a crepe (Ben loves his crepes) and a star-shaped doughnuts (you know me and doughnuts) (and star-shaped things…) and then actually ran back to the hotel because it looked like it was going to rain and we needed to get more rain protection. We took a fairly leisurely walk back to explore the park but a lot of areas seemed closed (it was off-peak season) and we learned that in a French theme park, even a Disney one, there will be a smoking area. (The French are still pretty strong smokers, judging from the large crowds engulfed in smoke I saw outside of bars and cafes back in Paris.)
We decided to go into Walt Disney Studios Park from the hotel because it was open to the public (no magic hours there) and we learned that there was a French food festival happening!
Each region of France was represented with its signature foods. Basically, it was the perfect little tour of French cuisine for us, and it may have been the highlight of our entire park visit.
We tried a little bit from most regions, aside from Bretagne (thanks Breizh Café) and Savoie (with long lines for raclette, which we had zero interest in because we’re not cheese fans), and had a pretty positive experience with this, despite the fact that they did have to microwave a lot of the food for us. It was still some of the better food we ate in the parks. (The rumors are true: DLP does not have good food despite being in France, a country known for its great cuisine… as evidenced by this food festival.)
We weren’t able to try food from everywhere, but I’m really grateful that this food festival happened during our visit because we really did learn a lot about the different regional cuisines of France!
In addition to Hyperspace Mountain, we rode the really fun Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, featuring Aerosmith and a lot of really cool rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia and history. There is also a very random (and not very good) ride based on the 1998 Armageddon movie, which I think Disney thought would be a longer-lasting hit than it was. From there, we hustled back to catch a Star Wars stage show that ended up being kind of disappointing… it wasn’t interactive, there was no story…? It was just a parade of characters and then it was over.
It was around this time that I learned that maybe European Disney guests are pretty different from American ones. For example, I didn’t see many Disneybounders at all. (The few I saw… I’m pretty sure were American.) Also, I would see great photo opportunities with no wait for them at all and then watch as a line formed behind Ben while he took photos of me. Apparently, the behavior I learned from American Disney fans on Instagram (specifically, posing in front of Disney’s plentiful photo-ready walls) made me something of a trendsetter that day in Disneyland Paris?
I don’t know why Toy Stor[e]y is misspelled here
We were really excited for our dinner reservation at Chez Rémy, the Ratatouille-themed restaurant that is modeled like Remy’s little rat-sized restaurant in the movie. The concept is very cute, decor-wise, but this was one of the most disappointing experiences we had at DLP.
The food was extremely meh-to-bad tasting, and a lot of it didn’t even photograph well? I expect Disney to at least value style over substance, but never did I imagine they would execute neither well. The MOST disappointing thing was when our waitress recommended the chocolate cake to us and it came out looking like a literal mug cake that got dumped on a plate, with a cloying yet not sweet enough sauce. It was mushy and also cloying but not sweet enough and just terrible and ugly. I don’t know why the waitress recommended it to us. Maybe she hated us, she didn’t seem very happy.
Walt Disney Studios Park actually closes at 6pm, and with our dinner going over, we had to wait for every party to finish dining so that we could be escorted out the empty park by a park employee. It was a super surreal experience, walking through an empty park!
We went back to Disneyland Park as the sun was setting, aka my favorite time of day anyway but especially in a Disney park.
We rode Haunted Mansion, as I had heard that it’s a bit different here and very special and unique but… it… was not? After that really disappointing meal, I was starting to feel really jaded about all the tips we got for things to do at DLP…
Nothing could really ruin golden hour, though, so we headed over to what has become my favorite Disney place during golden hour: the Tomorrowland/Discovery Land/whatever has the Astro Orbiter.
I like that Paris has a Jules Verne-theme instead of a what-the-future-looked-like-in-the-50s theme, it did add a unique spin and didn’t seem as dated since it is not a prediction of the future but a projection of a specific vision of the future.
We revisited the classic Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast (I finally beat Ben!!!!!!!!) and also toured the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. (I fear this is the kind of attraction that will get replaced by something from a more recent movie someday soon.) From there, it was time to get ready for the evening fireworks show in front of the castle! I told myself I would just enjoy it and not take photos but… it was just so gorgeous. I would put the camera away and then find myself frantically getting it out to capture a shot.
Despite feeling a bit let down by the overall experience (and how salty I was that the castle show featured all these classic Disney animation clips and then a clip of live action Beauty and the Beast………….), it was really hard to not walk away from DLP feeling a bit of magic. I cry during the castle show every dang time.
That’s it! That was our last day in France! We were kept awake by a crack in the window, which led to a screeching howl every time the wind gusted by (aka every 5 minutes since it was storming out) and then waited until 3AM for a maintenance person to come by and basically… tape it shut.
Needless to say, we left France a little tired and cranky but really grateful for all the adventures that we had.
I can’t believe I’ve somehow managed to visit a different Disney park every year for the past few years! I feel extraordinarily fortunate to have had the opportunities to visit and compare these theme parks in a fairly short span of time.
What are your favorite things about Disneyland Paris? What’s your favorite Disney park? I’ve heard some good things about the Asia parks, although I believe they are also not run directly by the Walt Disney Company, right? That might be why their merchandise game is so different… and adorable!
What did we miss out on while we were in France? I think it’s really likely that we’ll return, so I’ll try not to ignore my Duolingo and practice that French so I can do even better with it the next time I go!
I’ll also try to get vlogs up because I have been diligently recording videos but… well, I have a lot of vlogs to get up and I take a long time with them… But I’ll do my best!
Can you believe it’s December already? Do you have any posts you’d like to see in particular? I am aiming to get my New Orleans recap up soon and maybe a gift guide or two so that you have someplace to start brainstorming as we get into gift exchange season!
Disneybounding is a phenomenon created by Leslie Kay as a way for people to channel Disney spirit into their wardrobes in a park-approved way. When Leslie was Disney-bound, literally on her way to a Disney park, she wanted to use fashion as a way to express how excited she was without getting into trouble for confusing children by being in costume. I would describe it as specific sect of closet cosplay, where you are able to wear closet items you could wear with other outfits in one themed outfit!
This year was different because Leslie put out a day-by-day challenge for everyone to follow.
This was good and bad for me because:
+ I didn’t have to come up with outfits from scratch like I have in past years.
– I actually did have outfits from scratch that didn’t quite fit the themes…
+ I was able to rewear past Disneybounds to match themes
– I had to photograph old outfits creatively to keep it ~fresh~ (This is not necessarily a con.)
I stuck with the first half of the month pretty well, but the second half just fell off. Here we go:
A piece I find myself wearing a lot even when I’m not Disneybounding is the cursed Aztec gold necklace I got for my Elizabeth Swann bound for the pirate cruise in Fort Lauderdale. It always gets double takes from coworkers who go, “Um….. is that….. Pirates of the Caribbean???” I typically wear daintier jewelry but I love this larger piece so so much.
Day 2: #tbt to favorite DisneyBound
My favorite Disneybounding moment still has to be doing it with friends at Disneyworld a few years ago! Plus, I felt pretty magical doing Blue Dress Ariel, corset and all. It’s super fun to do with friends and I can’t wait to do it again.
I didn’t intend for my Meeko look to be so black but it was chilly and I didn’t want to take off my black jacket oops! This look was very inspired by one of my favorite Disneybounders, Chelsea (@brazzledazzleday), as many of my subsequent Disneybound and general outfit choices are very inspired by Chelsea and her great looks.
Obviously, I had to do Snow White on this day, but I just didn’t feel like wearing the full outfit to work (I get Snow White comments whenever I wear this skirt to work though) so I tried my hand at a little flatlay and called it a day.
Busted out my favorite villain look, Ursula, which I wore as-is because it’s hard to go wrong with this look. I love mixing the purples of this cardigan and the plum tights, wearing this black dress, and the necklace and brooch make it Ursula.
I chose not to follow any of the themed days because I really want to do Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and so I did and I loved walking around San Francisco in this look.
The Fab 5 refers to the classic 5 characters: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy. I went with Mickey for my visit to the Walt Disney Family museum and awkwardly went back to this window because my shots weren’t good but people were walking around. The lengths I go to for vanity…
As you may know, I love The Little Mermaid, and Blue Dress Ariel is my everything. I knew that with my red hair, not Disneybounding Ariel this year was simply not an option. It was tricky keeping these looks work-appropriate, so I let the bow do most of the talking and kept the rest of the look a lot more subtle in terms of the shades of blue I used. Holding this mermaid pose was actually very difficult and reminded me I have a lot of work on my core left to do!
Day 15: Alice in Wonderland
Rewore my White Rabbit outfit from last year, minus the pigtails, and called it a day. I realized that I spent all this time on this photoshoot last year for these photos to put up on the blog, but I never shared them on Instagram, so this look was still very fresh over there. Hurray for past laziness helping out with future laziness!
For St. Patrick’s Day, I busted out my once-a-year green dress and redid my Disgust look with the photo from last year. I always forget when I’m wearing it, but my friends do not hesitate to let me know that this dress makes me look very leggy!
This was kind of the drop-off point with Disneybounding, so grabbing a hammer made for an easy Thor look. It was all downhill from here though, and it had already been so long since my last bound. (10 days! And I had outfits planned for the days in-between!)
I had to dedicate day 30 to Adam and Briana, who I got to meet last year in LA and to whom I basically confessed to having treated like celebrities in my head and being completely starstruck upon meeting in person on this Instagram post. Briana, in particular, put out excellent looks for all 31 days of the challenge this year and is just a shining beacon in the Disneybound community. I love these two to bits!
And that was the challenge this year! Sorry I’m so late with the recap but I didn’t feel as into it this year, maybe because I felt like my outfits were not as good and my photos of said outfits were definitely not as good. We’ll see how next year goes but this is definitely getting harder and harder every year as I try not to repeat old Disneybounds. (I think repeating outfits this year made me even less creative for the rest of the month??)
Last time on SF 2017, I enjoyed delicious seafood in the Ferry Building and had fun at the Exploratorium: After Dark with an old friend. This time, another day of solo adventuring!
One spot that was fairly strongly recommended to me to try out was Tartine, so I figured I’d try to avoid hanger by going to this crazy-popular bakery for some pastries. Even though I hate waiting in line…
… there I was, in this sloooow-moving line, hiding my face from the people taking photographs of the not-even-that-crazy-but-still-embarrassing-to-be-part-of line. Eventually, I inched and inched and inched my way into the bakery, to the register, and even to my own little table in the corner to enjoy some pastries!
In general, I’d say it’s not worth the wait. The pastries were yummy but there is just no way to justify the long wait. When lines get that long, I expect to have my mind blown and mine simply wasn’t. I won’t be going back, it just isn’t worth the effort. (And I was pretty disappointed they were out of the almond frangipane croissants so early in the day.)
After nibbling on my pastries, I was a bit off-schedule because of the crazy line but I was finally off to go visit the Walt Disney Family Museum.
I’ve been eager to come back to San Francisco because, during my last visit, I didn’t realize I spent the day really close to this museum! In fact, I didn’t know about this museum at all until I got back home and was using a map to visualize where I had been when I spotted this landmark on the map.
This museum is amazing. It’s definitely a great museum for adult fans of Disney animations and of Walt himself, of course. You get a really in-depth look at his life, from his family tree to his death, and all the trials and tribulations in between. I learned a lot about Walter Elias Disney and the company that he started that I definitely did not know prior to walking through the museum. I’m only sharing about half the photos I took, and I tried to restrain myself to not take too many photos as well, to give you some small idea of the breadth and depth of the exhibits. When my mom hoards items from my childhood (old clothes, school projects, etc.) and tells me she wants to put them in my “museum” someday, I laugh, but looking at the thorough records of Disney’s life makes me wonder who was hoarding all of these things from his life, even prior to his animations.
I cannot recommend this museum enough if you are a fan of animation, of Walt Disney, of Disney animated films, of Disneyland, of early live-action Disney films, or just of this particular time in American history that produced one of the most iconic figures of modern American history and the most recognizable cartoon character in the world.
There was a curator talk about how Walt and his team were important ambassadors to South America at a time when the US government didn’t want the spread of Communism so close to home. I walked through the exhibit about this time (it’s where Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros comes from!) and then waited for the curator.
Well… I got a private talk. There was no one else there, so the curator spoke to me about all the work that Disney did to foster good relations with our South American neighbors. A few people edged by at some points but most just kept walking. I didn’t intend to stay for as long as I did, and the one-on-one nature of the talk made me a little uncomfortable to be honest!, but it was too rude for me to also move on given that I was the sole audience of the talk. Plus, I learned a lot about the nature of foreign relations at the time and where the research for The Three Cabelleros came from, as this was a movie that puzzled me a lot whenever I watched it as a child.
I started rushing through the museum, as I felt I was dilly-dallying through the exhibits, and I didn’t want to miss anything with closing time fast-approaching. But before I knew it…
Walter Elias Disney had passed away. And while I knew this, in the back of my head, I was still kind of taken aback when I reached this portion of the museum. He was doing so much: he was trying to open a ski resort (!!), he had put out Mary Poppins, he was doing amazing things with live action films, he was getting ready to start work on Disney World…
… and then he was gone. And I felt a bit floored by grief, sitting in this museum. As Walt’s activities ramped up in quantity, with the parks and the movies and the television shows and more, I felt myself going through faster to make sure I didn’t miss any of it. And I was forced to stop and slow down and take in the fact that the museum was over, that his life ended, and the world was no where near ready for that when it happened. Just as I wasn’t really ready for the whole experience to be over when I reached the end.
I walked through the gift shop in a bit of a daze, unsure of how to step back out into the beautiful sunny day at the Presidio.
Admission: $25/adult, $30 with film ticket
Hours: 10am – 6pm except Tuesdays and some holidays
Do you know what I mean when I set such a high bar for a place with a long line? I know it’s a bit unfair, but a long line means the expectations are just much higher. I wanted to go to Golden Gate Bakery, but they were actually on vacation during my visit! I am a bit concerned that Tartine is considered one of the best bakeries in SF, though, because I really wasn’t wowed by the flavors? Where should I have gone for baked goods if you don’t think Tartine is a good representative of SF pastries?
Have you ever visited a museum dedicated to a person? I once visited a Freud museum when my family visited Vienna almost 15 years ago, but otherwise I don’t visit too many person-centric museums. Maybe I should visit more? Do you have any recommendations?
Can you believe we’re almost halfway through October already?
It seems like just yesterday that I was sweating through the end of September and wondering when it would feel like fall. I could see my breath when I went out this morning, and I’ve started contemplating posting a cover of “Sweater Weather” up (don’t worry, I won’t), so it really is that time of year already!
The spoopy season is upon us, and it kicks off 3 months of festive fun, but I feel like I’ve barely had the chance to settle into October. Remember how I was supposed to “cool down for fall“? I’m not great at it, but I am getting better!
So let’s do a quick catch up of what I’ve been doing instead of taking it easy since I resolved to do just that…
DEVFESTDC // Maybe I wrote that post because I was staring down the barrel at a packed itinerary, because that Saturday I attended Day 2 of DevfestDC, a Google Developer Group mini-conference. I found out that my friend Yufeng (still waiting on your wedding photos, friend!) was one of the speakers, and with the venue so close to home, I had to go! It was nice to learn about machine learning and Google’s software (in advance of their big hardware announcement shortly after). It was especially nice to get to spend time with Yufeng, who I haven’t seen since his wedding. And seeing him twice in one year is like a new record!
SEEING RED // I dyed my hair!
It’s a lot more subtle than I was going for, but I am still happy to have red in my hair for autumn! And to be honest, maybe it’s safer for work that my hair isn’t as vibrant of a red as I was going for?
TWO YELPER PARTIES // I worked at not one but two Yelper parties, one week apart! You know I’m a sucker for a good themed party, so for the famous rivalry theme, I quickly donned an Ursula getup and convinced Ben to do an Eric Disneybound.
And at the DC Halloween bash, I gave Little Red a little test drive. (You’ll be seeing her again later!)
(And of course, I ate a lot of great food.)
HOMECOMING // I went back to my alma mater for yet another rainy homecoming. It feels very different now, when I go back to campus. I feel super out of touch with the campus community as the neighborhood changes. The student involvement suite – where I used to spend hours of my week running different clubs and meetings – had been completely redone and I was invited to the ribbon-cutting. It is so new and snazzy now, and I am really excited for the student orgs who are going to get to use that space. The homecoming leadership reception – which I’ve attended for the past 4 years – was held in a different building than usual because the old building… is not there anymore. They are redoing it. I remember feeling super tethered to my alma mater as my first job after graduating was research on campus, but I definitely do not feel that anymore.
TREVOR NOAH // I got to see Trevor Noah, who currently hosts The Daily Show, perform standup at the Kennedy Center while he promotes his upcoming book, Born Illegal. He was really funny, and I didn’t know that he did so many great impressions and accents! I appreciated his commitment to his one-man skits, which less-bold comics would not sustain the way he did. And then, because my friend Krystal is going to marry him and got the chance to get a photo with him… and bring some friends… I got to meet him!
SETH MEYERS // Late Night with Seth Meyers is filming in DC this week, and I was able to attend Tuesday’s taping! It was very stressful because even though I left work quite early, Metro was hell-bent on making me late. When I escaped from underground and decided to bike over instead, the first three Capital Bikeshare hubs I got to were full! No where to park my bike! This was one of the rare times I ran in the streets and I immediately stopped when I saw the line wrapping around the block. My friends already had their wristbands to sit in the orchestra section, and I was sure I wasn’t going to make it because there were hundreds of people in line in front of me. But I made it!!! Here’s the episode I watched them film, with guests Lena Dunham and John Mulaney and Nick Kroll as their characters from their Broadway show, Oh, Hello. It was fun to get to see them film live, and I liked seeing Seth Meyers again. (I saw him perform standup in college, shortly before he hosted the White House Correspondent’s Dinner in 2011.)
CIRQUE DE LA SYMPHONIE // I just saw this last night: it’s the NSO Pops performing Cirque de la Symphonie: classic Halloween instrumentals to accompany some incredible circus acts. I’m talking aerial artists, strongmen, a juggling clown, a contortionist. There was a woman doing these amazing fast changes! It was awesome, and the set list included a lot of my favorite orchestral Halloween pieces. To top it all off, the weather is beautiful, so we walked to and fro the Kennedy Center and thoroughly enjoyed the stroll.
#FALLINTODISNEYSTYLE // I’ve been occasionally participating in Disney Style’s fall Instagram challenge, and I have been getting to know a lot of really cool Disney Instagrammers through it!
I’m not as hardcore as most of the community is, but it’s still a really fun community to get to know.
Believe it or not, this is actually a slightly slowed-down few weeks for me. I have been very consciously giving myself days at home to cook dinner, clean, and prepare for future activities. (Halloween is rapidly approaching and then the holiday season will be upon us before we know it!)
What have you been up to lately as fall kicks into full gear?
What are your favorite politically-minded comedy shows? I don’t really watch a lot of TV anymore, and I definitely don’t stay up late to watch them, so I actually don’t watch much of The Daily Show or Late Night with Seth Meyers.