Hello Dear Readers! Here we are not too far away from Christmas and there’s so much left to do. Good thing Disneyland has a gorgeous Christmas tree for me to enjoy as there sure hasn’t been time to decorate one here at Pressing Matters Central. Thanks for taking a moment to drop in … your reward is a brand new group of things to add to your holiday fun and frivolity to-do list. Here’s what we’ll be talking about today:
MiceChat Celebrates • Princesses, Why Does It Always Have To Be Princesses?
• Ice Skating OC-Style • Holiday With Critters • It’s A Wonderful … Christmas Carol? • The Lovers, The Dreamers, And Me • Walt’s Barn • Planning Ahead
MiceChat is turning seven. Seven! I can hardly believe so much time has passed already. In celebration of that milestone MiceChat has the best event planned. There are a fews spots left so hurry, hurry, and claim your place for what is sure to be a super magical day:
Join us on a very special one day Adventures By Disney "Hollywood Magic" trip that starts at the Walt Disney Studios and then takes you to other famous Hollywood locations with your MiceChat pals. We'll tour the Walt Disney Studios, see the famous Disney Archives, dine in the commissary and shop in the studio store. Then it's off to Hollywood where you'll tour the El Capitan and the Kodak Theaters (the latter the home of the Academy Awards) as well as other famous tinseltown and Sunset Strip sights and landmarks. The day wraps up with a cocktail reception on Malibu Beach at sunset. What better way to kick off the MiceChat anniversary weekend!
Less than 10 spots remain ($179 per person) - e-mail Teresa Cory of Fairy Godmother Travel today for details/bookings: [email protected]
Every time I see Belle in a Disney theme park, all dolled up in her princess attire, waving that sweet little princess wave (elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist, touch the pearls, blow a kiss), I cringe a little. All that overtly princessy stuff just doesn’t seem to suit Belle somehow. I’m sure Belle isn’t averse to actually being a princess, it’s just the way she’s presented that gets me.
Because in the story of Beauty and the Beast, Belle wasn’t a gal who was waiting around to be rescued by the man in shining armor. She was brainy, she liked to read, could take care of herself, and she was put off by the hunky guy who melted all the other girls hearts. Belle doing the demure princess thing is just wrong. With that in mind, you’ll understand when I say here that I am not at all sure the world needs another Disney princess, don’t we have enough already? I guess if you’re a wee lass (which here, means pre-school - that’s the target audience), you might see things differently though and guess what? Disney just announced they’re adding a new princess to the gaggle of royal gals:
Disney will introduce a little girl princess to its celebrated legacy of princess fairytales in an animated television movie and series, "Sofia the First," premiering in fall 2012 and spring 2013 respectively, on Disney Channel and Disney Junior channels around the world. While Disney princess fairytales have been enchanting audiences for more than 70 years, this is the first time a series has centered around a princess as a little girl. The stories are designed to communicate positive messages and life lessons that are applicable to preschool-aged children. Providing the voice of Sofia is Ariel Winter (ABC's "Modern Family"). Also highlighting the voice cast is Sara Ramirez (ABC's "Grey's Anatomy") as Queen Miranda; Wayne Brady ("Whose Line Is It Anyway?) as Clover, a wise-talking Rabbit; and Tim Gunn (ABC's "The Revolution," "Project Runway") as Baileywick, the family's Royal Steward.
"Sofia the First" stories are set in the storybook world of young Sofia who starts out life as a regular girl. But when her mom marries the king, she is whisked off to a glamorous, but sometimes confusing, castle world of royalty, pomp and new step-siblings, Amber and James. They will include appearances by Fauna, Flora and Merryweather (the fairies in Disney's classic "Sleeping Beauty") as the headmistresses of Royal Prep, the academy that Sofia, along with other princes and princesses, attends. Special event appearances will be made by classic characters including Cinderella and other Disney Princesses.
I could be wrong about not needing another princess, that’s been known to happen. About being wrong, I mean. I really didn’t like Phineas and Ferb in the beginning. But then I fell in love with Perry the Platypus and that was it, I was won over by a stealthy semi-aquatic mammal. If princesses are your thing, you have lots to look forward to on the Disney Channel in the Fall of 2012.
If you’re looking for some fun outdoor ice skating in the OC, head on down to The Strand In Huntington Beach starting tomorrow. And while you’re at it, do something nice for those who are less fortunate than you, bring along a warm coat to donate to Coats for Kids — donate a coat the weekend of 12/16-12/18 and skating is free (coats will be collected through the end of December though, if you can’t get there this weekend):
Holiday Ice Rink welcomes skaters of all ages and abilities beginning December 16 through January 1, 2012. Join us Saturday, December 17th starting at 5pm for our Holiday Ice Rink Grand Opening Celebration featuring the Cirque du Soleil truck, pet photos with Santa, free hot chocolate by Sertinos and more. Skate rental is $7 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and under.
The Strand is located near Pacific Coast Highway and the Huntington Beach Pier at 55 5th Street. For more information, visit this link.
My favorite local zoo is celebrating Christmas this Saturday and Sunday with Holidays With The Critters. Head on out to the Santa Ana Zoo for some festive furry fun:
During this event, the Zoo entrance and farm area will be transformed into a winter wonderland, with lighted displays, enchanting animals, seasonal music, arts and crafts tables, train rides, and storytelling.
The cost is $6.00 per person (ages 2 and up), $3.00 per member, children under 2 are free. On Saturday, 12/17, it’s City of Santa Ana and Seniors Night, city residents, employees and all seniors get in to the celebration free. Sunday, 12/18, it’s Member Appreciation Night, all FOSAZ Members get in to the celebration free. The Santa Ana Zoo is located at 1801 East Chestnut Avenue in Santa Ana, CA For more information, visit this link.
I’ve mentioned the All American Melodrama Theater on these pages before and have had some nice email from readers who’ve visited and had a swell time. The theater is at it again with It’s A Wonderful Christmas Carol, a new production I bet you’ll enjoy:
Two great holiday tales collide in this original, musical, holiday parody presentation. Holiday fun for the whole family in three hilarious, heartwarming acts. First up: The Melodrama Players present their unique take on Charles Dickens’ classic in "HUMBUG or What the Dickens?". Followed by a second act satire of another classic, "IT'S A BLUNDERFUL LIFE or Bye George!" Plus Bing Martin is back with his latest holiday special: "Bing in the Holidays!"
It’s A Wonderful Christmas Carol runs now through January 1st. The theater is located at 429 Shoreline Village Drive in Long Beach, CA For more information, visit this link.
Gallery Nucleus has a dandy exhibit right now — make it a two-fer day, go see The Lovers, The Dreamers, And Me and then (if you haven’t already), head to the multiplex and catch The Muppets:
Jim Henson's accomplishments have left a widespread and enduring impression on generations of admirers since his first endeavors in the late 1950s. From his iconic and colorful cast on Sesame Street to the groundbreaking fantasy Dark Crystal, Henson's imagination and ingenuity have ignited a path that many others have since followed. Timed with the release of Disney's The Muppets motion picture and news on a forthcoming Henson biopic, Nucleus has invited more than 30 artists to pay homage to this universally beloved visionary whose inspiring concepts and characters have impacted our culture in a monumental way. The collection will showcase a variety of mediums from a roster of professionals who are also genuine fans.
The exhibition runs now through January 2, 2012 at Gallery Nucleus — located at 210 East Main St., in Alhambra, CA — Open Sunday through Thursday from 12 PM-8 PM, Friday through Saturday from 11 AM-10 PM. For more information, visit this link.
Now, let’s talk about trains. This Sunday would be a great time to visit Walt’s Barn out at Griffith Park. It’s only open one Sunday a month and this particular weekend there’s an extra added attraction (as if Walt Disney’s very own barn wasn’t incentive enough), Disney artist Stacia Martin will be on hand:
Stop by Walt Disney's Carolwood Barn on Sunday, December 18 for some Holiday fun. We will be collecting for Toys for Tots and artist Stacia Martin will be appearing. To ring in the Christmas season, Stacia has created a unique piece of art just for Walt's Barn called "HO-HO-HO Scale". Limited edition prints will be available, and all proceeds benefit the Barn and the ongoing Combine project. Limit two per guest.
Stacia will be at the Barn from 12:00 noon - 3:00 p.m. to meet and greet with guests and personalize prints. Just in case you’re not familiar with Walt’s Barn, here’s the scoop:
In 1950, Walt Disney built a 1/8th scale live-steam railroad at his residence in Holmby Hills, CA. He operated the "Carolwood Pacific Railroad" for family and friends until 1953 when he shifted his energies into creating a magical place where families could have fun together, Disneyland. The Carolwood Pacific Railroad center of operations was a quaint red barn that Walt built as a replica of one from the Disney farm in Marceline, MO. The Carolwood barn served as his workshop and he spent many hours there building miniatures and model trains.
In 1999, Walt Disney's family moved the barn he called his "happy place" from his home to the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum, of which Walt was a founding member. Today, Walt's Barn is a living showcase of Walt's passion for railroading. Operated by the non-profit Carolwood Foundation, Walt's Barn is filled with trains of all scales, many of which were donated to the Foundation by his animators and friends that shared his hobby. Many of Walt's personal items and tools are on display and he even hand-made all of the work benches.
Admission and parking are free. The Barn is located at 5202 Zoo Drive in Los Angeles, CA For more information, visit this link.
In the interest of planning ahead, the next two events are for you to put on your 2012 calendar. We’ll stick with the subject of the Carolwood Foundation first:
The Carolwood Foundation has a magical event planned for this coming spring. We are offering our members a chance to visit the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, California for an evening of elegant dining and magic. This is a chance to experience the private magicians’ club in a Victorian manor high on a hill in Hollywood, where Cary Grant, Orson Welles, Johnny Carson and other celebrities have entertained their guests over the years. Neil Patrick Harris of TV fame is the current president. You never know who will be at the Magic Castle on any night, but you have the rare chance to experience this. Fred Lack, vice-president of the Carolwood Foundation and Magic Castle member, is your host for the evening. Inside you will be treated to a five course gourmet dinner and magic in five different showrooms of world class prestidigitation.
Available seats are limited and the Carolwood Society expects this event will sell out quickly. The cost is $175 per person. Formal attire is required, and you must be at least 21 years of age. A 50% deposit per person is required now and the balance must be paid by April 2, 2012. This will cover admission to the Magic Castle and the five-course meal. Alcoholic beverages are not included, but may be purchased separately that night. Reservations must be made by January 20, 2012. Final cancellation and refund date is April 20, 2012. For instructions on how to make reservations, or for more information, visit this link.
Our second plan-ahead item, and last Pressing Matter for today, also involves trains. I don’t know about you, but I have a family member who is train-crazy and Disneyland is to blame. He’s not yet even three years of age, but my grandson can yell “All aboarrrrrrd,” just like a real Disneyland Conductor and has a fit if he doesn’t get the Grand Circle Tour every time we take him to the Park. I know he’ll want to head to the Anaheim Convention Center come January when the Great Train Expo comes to town:
The Great Train Expo is a national, traveling show that caters to the model railroad enthusiast. It features 200-500 tables of train dealers, who offer everything from … HO Scale, N Scale, Lionel (O Gauge), G Gauge, Z Scale, American Flyer (S Gauge), hobby tools, die-cast vehicles, train whistles, scenery items, Railroadiania Slides, t-shirts, videos, railroad gift items, books, photos and much, much more. The show offers a variety of operating model railroad and toy layouts for the entire family to enjoy in many different scales and gauges. Check them out and get some great ideas for your own layout.
If you're interested in joining a local model railroading club, the Expo is a great place to visit some of the different clubs in your area and learn more about them. It will be at the Anaheim Convention Center on January 7th & 8th, 2012. Admission costs for Adults and children over the age of 12 are $7.00 and children under the age of 12 are free. Be advised that admission to the show is cash or check only. For more information, visit this link.
That wraps it up for today, I’ve got some decorating to do, presents to wrap, surprises to plan, and I expect you do too.
If you want to know what I’m up to, you need to follow Pressing Matters on Twitter. You never know what you’ll find there — food, museums, shopping, Disneyland, Christmas! Follow along as I search for the all the latest Pressing Matters & tweet about what I find: