Okay, so we left Friday morning to get to Disneyland around opening. We ended up getting there a little later than we wanted to (mornings are still pretty hard for us), but that turned out to be okay, because, as expected, when the park opens at eight, people still stay away until about ten-thirty. It was beautiful and magical. We made it on eight attractions, including three roller coasters. The third one was a mistake, though--see, we went on Gadget's Go Coaster, and from there we got a very brief glimpse of construction on Star Wars Land (it suddenly occurs to me that the name "Star Wars Land" is kind of linguistically inappropriate, because the "lands" in Star Wars are all planets; on the other hand, how many planets that sustain life really have the exact same climate throughout? what I'm saying is, Star Wars doesn't always make sense), so we thought, "Hey, we should go on Big Thunder and get a better look!"
What we didn't realize is that by then it was about ten-thirty...which meant the crowds were picking up.
Anyway, you may be wondering why we haven't mentioned any Beauty and the Beast stuff yet. Well, it's simple; none of the experiences were actually available until eleven. We realized this might be the case and were mildly annoyed by it because of the whole crowd thing, which also had us consider the wisdom of camping out at the new Red Rose Taverne until it opened, but we are so tired of people camping out for things that we decided not to take part in it...until we got off of Big Thunder at about 10:50. That turned out to be pretty good timing, because when we got back to the Taverne, there was a line, but not nearly one as long as formed after we got there--in those last five minutes before the restaurant opened, the line made its way all the way back to King Arthur's Carousel.
So the Red Rose Taverne. We have mixed feelings about the name. Athena always says it with a special emphasis on the "vern," because that's what an E at the end of a word does in French. (Athena informs me that, with or without the E, the "vern" would be emphasized in French, because the emphasis usually goes on the last syllable of a word.) We're just curious as to why the name is partly in French and partly in English. On the other hand, Village Haus (the restaurant's previous name) is half English and half German. I would argue that that makes more sense because, it being the Pinocchio restaurant (in fact, it was called Geppetto's, before changing its name to Village Haus for reasons unknown to us), it's located in the Alps, which are in Switzerland, which speaks German and English. Also, "house" and "haus" are pronounced the same way, while "tavern" and "taverne" technically are not.
Anyway. They'd given the restaurant half a makeover. There were woodcarvings in certain places that were very Pinocchio-specific (as in, they portrayed Pinocchio), and those were covered in curtains. There were murals on the walls of characters and scenes from Pinocchio, and those were replaced with murals of characters and scenes from Beauty and the Beast. I don't know if the walls were entirely repainted, or if they just replaced the panels temporarily, or what, but they are claiming this is a limited time thing, so I'm thinking it's probably reversible?
But one side of the tavern was the Beast's castle side, and the other side of the tavern was the Belle's village side, and we actually felt like they did a pretty nice job. The Belle's village side naturally had an area dedicated to Gaston, with a large portrait of him, and of course, antlers on all the chandeliers. You can tell that they definitely paid attention to the movie for all of the aesthetics. On the Beast's castle side, there were stained glass windows, and if you looked up into the rafters, they acted like shelves, one with lots of tea sets, one with lots of books and candlesticks, and one with lots of clocks! The one with clocks was a little like, "Huh?" because usually people have a lot of tea sets and books and candlesticks, but only collectors have lots of clocks. On the other hand, you wouldn't want to leave Cogsworth out of it.
We were kind of in a hurry to get our food, because! we wanted to catch the Beauty and the Beast show at the Royal Theatre. We'd been told it hadn't been changed to include the real Gaston (he's usually played by Mr. Jones), but we still wanted to see it anyway, because it's our favorite Royal Theatre show and we hadn't seen it in a while. It would be starting at eleven-thirty. Unfortunately, even though there weren't too many people in line ahead of us, we were behind a few families with lots of people who hadn't come prepared with a knowledge of the menu like we had, and that meant they took a long time ordering. Also, the restaurant staff was still getting used to the new menu, too, so food delivery was a little on the slow side. We decided not to panic, to take our time eating our desserts (those were the only appealing things on the menu), and if we made it to the show, great!
We ordered the Grey Stuff Gateau and the Lemon Rose Cake. I think I already mentioned that the grey stuff should probably be a savory hors-d'oeuvre, but in the chef's defense, they had clearly referred to the movie for the visual aspect. It looked just like what Lumiere served Belle, only much bigger. And it was a cupcake. A red velvet cupcake with a raspberry filling, completely covered in grey stuff frosting, which I'm going to say is flavored "white chocolate cream cheese," because the description online said it was white chocolate and I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt that they weren't completely lying. And the cream cheese flavor really wasn't that strong, thankfully, because we don't like cream cheese. The texture of the frosting was really nice, though. Usually when you see a cupcake with frosting shaped like that, it has a very stiff texture that tastes like plastic or something, but this was still soft and creamy. And the flavors all worked together pretty well, so I'm pretty sure that anyone who likes cream cheese in their dessert would agree with the dishes that the grey stuff is in fact delicious. My favorite part was the lemon cookie at the bottom to represent the cracker. I do wonder why it was lemon, though.
The Lemon Rose Cake was neither lemon, rose, nor cake. Okay, so technically it was rose-shaped. Other than that, it didn't match the description at all. We think it was some kind of a custard pudding? Which may have been faintly lemon-flavored, but we didn't detect any. This custard pudding (or whatever it was) housed a very berry filling. At least, I assume it was berry. There may also have been cherries, because there were round things that resembled cherries. I couldn't say for sure, because it wasn't sweetened (I guess they figured the custard would soften the tartness of the berries?), so all we tasted was sourness. Someone with a different palate is going to have to try that one, because we are incapable of tasting what it's really supposed to be. And even though I do like to taste the individual elements of things separately, I did make sure to eat the filling with the custard outside! Otherwise I might not have eaten it at all, because fruit textures are gross. What I'm saying is, the sweetness of the custard did not soften the tartness of the berries(?) enough for me to identify a flavor other than sour. The custard by itself was pretty good, though. And there was maybe an eighth of an inch of cake (it looked like chocolate?) at the bottom. (When I told Mom about it, she said, "That's called a crust." And I said, "Okay, but it was made of cake.")
As we were finishing up our vaguely disappointing desserts (I think the grey stuff could have been a winner to other people), we noticed Gaston! ...Walking backstage to take a break. D'oh. Just missed him. But then who should arrive but the Beast! They made a new costume for him that we noticed for the first time during the Christmas parade, and it is beautiful. Especially the eyes, oh my goodness. I was a little disappointed when I shared the picture we got of him on Facebook and noticed that his eyes are in shadow so nobody can see how beautiful they are. This is why I want to get a phone with a really nice camera. We didn't have time to try to talk to him, which is just as well because he's mute anyway, as we rushed off to the Royal Theatre...which had just stopped admitting new audience members. Our options were to stand just outside the audience seating and watch from there, or to go have lunch. The desserts weren't very filling, so we opted for lunch.
After a quick stop in Downtown Disney for Wetzel's Pretzels, it was back to the Red Rose Taverne to see if we could catch Belle or Gaston. We were thinking of asking Belle for a book recommendation. We were also under the impression that the characters would be wandering around Fantasyland, so when we didn't see anybody at the tavern, we moseyed over to It's A Small World and back a couple of times to see if we ran into someone. We finally did! And it was the Beast again. And he's still pretty cute. But that told us we probably wouldn't see Gaston for a while, so we wandered over to Frontierland to say hi to Farley...and found ourselves in the middle of a hoedown! Turns out those things can be pretty exhausting, but it was a lot of fun. There was a bunch of music students visiting from Arizona, so we got to hear the joke, "What's the difference between a musician and an extra large pizza?" "The pizza can feed a family of four." It sounds really mean, but everyone who is or knows a musician knows it can be true.
Anyway, it was finally time for the show, so we watched it! And it was great! We're still a little saddened by the fact that Smythe and Jones don't pause to give the audience a chance to shout fie or huzzah, but we thought about it and realized that would be really depressing for them all the times when nobody shouts anything. In fact, we're almost always the only adults doing it, even when we go with Gaston. But! there's a little teeny tiny bit of hope, because this time, a few rows in front of us was a girl about ten years old who heard us having fun shouting stuff. She especially glanced back a lot when we were yelling fie at Mr. Jones Gaston at the climax. And the best part is! after a while, she timidly raised a fist and shouted fie at him, too! But only once, is the sad part. Still, we're making a difference! People need to realize that it's sooooooo much more fun when you shout fie and huzzah.
And then! we were already running late and we had to get back home and work on Noragami, and we have not been able to get our translation schedule back on track since! Even this morning, we accidentally set the alarm for earlier, so we were like, "Great! At least we get more time to get some work done!" And then! randomly, in the middle of the day, our computer shut itself off, and we had to redo like half an hour of work. So that was all the extra time we'd had from waking up early. But that's okay! We'll make it through somehow!
Today I'm thankful for not being too terrifyingly behind schedule (we think), getting to check out the Red Rose Taverne, getting to shout huzzah and fie, the Beast's new costume, and getting to do a hoedown with Farley.