There was so much that happened at the Disneyland Resort this week – not major things, mind you, but little things here and there that add up to a big update. In Town Square, the train station is coming along nicely as is the arch at Coke Corner.  Not to mention the riot of color that is blooming for Spring throughout both parks.  Disney also made an announcement regarding the long-awaited arrival of Starbucks on Main Street, and the sad departure of the Voices of Liberty. Starcade has returned, though it might make you more sad than happy. More work can be seen on Thunder Mountain’s Rainbow Ridge, and the Indian village along the Rivers of America is smoking again, in a good way. Last but not least, we have the return of Disney Jr. Live in Disney California Adventure!  Off we go.


The wooden doors were reinstalled at the Main Street U.S.A. train station.  The place is really coming together now and should be operable very soon.


Walls are still up at the entrance as of Wednesday.


The Voices of Liberty announced from their Facebook page that their final performance will be Sunday, April 7th.  Be sure to catch them before they leave.


It was also announced that Starbucks will finally be making its debut on Main Street U.S.A. at the end of 2013.  The location will be renovated and it is claimed that the Starbucks brand will be blended into the existing theme as well as possible.  They did a great job on the FF&P in DCA so there should be little worry.

The terrible coffee here will soon be replaced.

It is assumed that this part of the Disney Gallery will become part of the expansion.

Our only concerns lie in the keeping of the smaller details.  The potbelly stove, the checkerboard, the party lines that one can eavesdrop on, we just hope that these little touches find a way to be included in the new Starbucks Market House.


Work continues on the delicately crafted arch in front of Coke Corner.


Here we take a break from the news to enjoy the brilliant display of blossoms inside the berm.  Few other places do flowers and foliage as well as Disney.  This is about as good as it gets.

Refreshed, these tightly pack tulips crowd the base of the flag pole in Town Square.

In the distance, the Sleeping Beauty’s Castle beckons.
Ranunculus in Town Square are a fleeting beauty of pastel flowers.

The colorful blossoms of the Pau d’Arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa) trees in the hub offer a pink cloud of color that frames the castle.


Stopping by the Big Thunder Mountain refurbishment site we find lots of building going on in the Rainbow Ridge area.



The Mark Twain Riverboat is scheduled to return on Thursday, April 18th, after a very extensive refurbishment.  Below you can see the boat is still in dry dock, with quite a bit of work in the decks bellow.


While sailing the Rivers of America on the Sailing Ship Columbia we noticed something at the Indian Village.  The smoke effects for each of the fires have returned.  The animatronics play out their scenes while light columns of smoke rise from the campfires nearby.  It is a wonderful thing to see a small touch like that return.

It’s hard to photograph the smoke, but it really does look great.


A new wall has sprung up on the top floor of Innoventions.  Not exactly sure what they will be installing just yet.  Which seems even stranger, since news was swirling of the attraction’s impending closure.


The Starcade has returned after hosting the Wreck-it-Ralph character meet and greet.  Back is the strange mix of retail and arcade games.  The stand up consoles are mostly the classic games.  Included in the mix, however, were two pinball machines and the air hockey table.

The store layout still feels temporary and awkward.

Of course they kept the Fix-it-Felix games

Sadly, the 2nd floor is still off limits. Would be great if they’d just turn the whole downstairs into a shop and make the upstairs a dedicated arcade. Eventually, they need to fix this location. It just doesn’t feel right. What do you all think?


MiceChat’s Doug Barnes, Eric Davis, Fishbulb and Dusty Sage compare Disneyland’s new Fantasy Faire Village with Disney World’s new Fantasyland. Plus, Universal and SeaWorld theme park news.
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The updated Disney Jr. Live Onstage opens today at Disney California Adventure.  This time around, the show features Disney hits Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Sofia the First joining the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fab five for a charming little show geared to the 5 and under set.

Sofia the First


This character reminded me of Snape from Harry Potter.

Spoiler alert, there is snoap


Jake and the Neverland Pirates

The Doc McStuffins sequence. Anyone here remember Lambchop?


No question, kids of the age this show was designed for will go nuts.  They will have a great time with all of the music, the puppetry, the falling confetti, streamers, and snow that are showered upon them.  Adults may have a harder time getting through the 20 minutes of object lessons, broad delivery and hyper-happy music.  But this show isn’t really for you. Though, there was a time that Disney would attempt to make even the kid shows fun for adults (like the do with the two new shows in the Fantasy Faire Village at Disneyland).


As part of the Limited Time Magic promotion Disney California Adventure is holding a fun little Easter Egg hunt.  Running until March 24th, the hunt costs $4.95 to play and leads visitors all around the park to collect 10 different “eggs”.  Some of the eggs are conspicuous, others a little more difficult. If you find them all, you get a Vinylmation prize. Not too bad for a $5 experience.

Clues are given as to the locations…


Guests have to place the stickers in the location that they correspond with.


While Disneyland still seems to be a bit more photogenic, DCA still has its share of beautiful blossoms.


According to the Disneyland resort website, Silly Symphony swings is up and running now.  However, when we were there Wednesday, things were still under wraps.


Finally we just have to talk about what could easily be considered the worst display window we have seen inside a Disney Theme Park in a long time. What is supposed to be a fun scene of big top showmanship turns out to be ugly and poor quality instead.

Initially this window doesn’t seem to be too awful.  But upon closer inspection, we see just how shabby the display is.  The concept of a bunch of toys in a big top watching the circus isn’t the issue. Scale and forced perspective aside, it’s the craftsmanship of the overall display and the slapdash placement of the figures in the window that are jarring.

The physical stuffed animals sit inches away from the photographic representation behind them. LOL
The printed fiberboard cutouts are already bowing from the wall, not being fastened properly.
The inkjet stripes that show each pass of the printer are fully apparent.
There are even bits of the display that are literally frayed.

I mean WOW.  We usually don’t comment on window displays in this column, but this was really really bad.  When we asked a Cast Member about it on Sunday, the 17th they dismissively said that the night crew probably just didn’t have time to finish it and that they would be back to fix it that night.  The following Wednsday, we took these pics.  Let’s hope this gets fixed soon. Better yet, we hope that Imagineering gets wind of this and enforces a higher quality standard.

Oh how we wish the Disneyland Resort would start doing dimensional animated windows again.

Before we forget, the Gumball Rally is just around the corner and tickets are almost sold out!

Gumball Rally info – click HERE

The Gumball Rally is a race to see how many attractions you can experience at the Disneyland Resort in a single day.  The event is a little over a month away, so you still have time to grab a ticket.  The date for the Rally is May 4th.

How is it played?
Simple.  Form a team of people numbering 2, 3, or 4 players.  Sign up on the Gumball Rally info page.

It is best to come up with a really clever team name too.  This intimidates your competitors. 😉

Event ticket include breakfast, a game packet, and an award party where we entertain you, give away prizes and then crown the winning teams. (Theme park tickets are NOT included – you’ll need to park hop this year).

We will give each team a booklet that contains one question for each attraction included in the race.  This year, many of the attractions in both parks will be included in the game.  The questions are not trivia. The intention of the questions is only to verify that you rode the attraction.  The questions are simple enough to answer, but very hard to guess, unless you are riding to find the specific thing we are asking for in the question. A few of the questions really keep you on your toes (we’ve got to make it fun).  At the end of the day, you will turn your packets in at the designated finish line and then trot off to go grab dinner and head to the awards party at the Howard Johnson Anaheim Resort.

Nearly every participant come back with huge smiles on their faces – worn out from a wild day at the parks, but with a sense of accomplishment. This is a strenuous activity. 12 hours in the parks and 16 hours of total event time. But WOW is it worth it. The perfect day with friends and family at the happiest place on earth.

And that should do it for today folks.  Get to the park, enjoy the lovely springtime flowers, experience the new Disney Jr. Live, go on an Easter Egg Hunt.  You will be glad you did!