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In the Parks

Car-o-rails at Disneyland, DCA Wraps Up, Knott's News, SeaWorld

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by , 05-17-2012 at 09:20 PM

Even though we are on the verge of an epic Summer, there is plenty of action going on at the Southern California Theme parks to keep fans occupied until all the big new rides open. We begin with Disneyland where we find the Monorails have been given a cute new Cars overlay. Next, we check up on Disney California Adventure and the actual Cars Land, Buena Vista Street and Mad T Party. We also get to stop by Knott's Berry Farm and then we drop down to San Diego to check on the progress of their new family coaster, Manta! It's heady times, so let's get to it!

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This Sunday, May 20th, at the Disneyland Central Hub: Join us to chit chat, find out who won the Rally, have some fun and you might just be the winner of one of two 2 night stays we are giving away thanks to the kindness of sponsors Anabella Hotel and Carousel Inn & Suites. After the meet, we'll head off for lunch and then ride a couple of attractions together. It's a lovely way to spend a few hours (stay for as much or little as you'd like). No cost and no need to sign up. Just show up at noon this Sunday (May 20th). We'll see you all there!

The scaffolding has come down near the La Brea Bakery and the new look is pretty impressive.

With La Brea Bakery Express on one end of Downtown Disney and Earl of Sandwich on the other end, there will be two new affordable dining options in Downtown Disney. That's a good thing.

Disneyland has created a Cars inspired overlay/wrap to the existing fleet of Monorails to celebrate the opening of Cars Land on June 15th. The first to emerge was Mona the Monorail. (the other two are Mandy and Manny). The wrap is really just a pair of eyes and a mouth added to the head cone. However, they have created a brand new audio track similar to the existing spiel, that conveys the info as if the Mona was taking you on a tour of Disneyland. It works, it's charming and should be nice to have a round for a while. Each of the Monorails has its own name and spiel. It's a clever little short term marketing campaign which doesn't beat you over the head with lots of text or signs. It's just a face on the nose cone and a clever spiel. Simple and we really liked it.

Purists can take heart in the fact that this is only temporary.

The Matterhorn continues to go through testing and is working out all of the kinks in time for the June 15th deadline.

The bobsleds are ready to go!

An update on the Fantasy Faire shows us that a lot of work has already begun behind the walls.

The popcorn light fixtures have been taped over, indicating that the tent structure will remain.

Soon the boring facade, that was built on the back side of Zocolo in the Pressler Era, will be gone.

In less than a month, the Carnation Cafe is set to return. June 13th, two days before the relaunch of DCA is the date that has been set.

This week, Disneyland also held a wonderful and FREE event for Passholders. The Fantasmic 20th Anniversary event was an evening party set aside exclusively for pass holders to come and celebrate this wonderful show.

Aside from the special showing of Fantasmic, they keep a few rides open on the west side of the park as well.

They even have special food items at...

Bengal Barbecue
Berry Brownie Skewer, Chocolate Crispy Skewer

French Market
Popcorn Shrimp Basket with Slaw, French Dip Sandwich with N'Orleans Chips, Apple Yam Salad, Fantasmic Cupcake

The Golden Horseshoe
Premium Chili Cheese dog

Harbor Galley:
Premium Chili Cheese dog, Bacon Mac n cheese dog

Mint Julep Bar:
Berry Blast Drink (be prepared to wait, this was the most popular item of the evening)

River Belle Terrace:
Open Face Turkey Sandwich, Open Face New York Steak Sandwich, Fantasmic Cupcake

Royal Street Veranda:

Apple Fritters

Stage Door Cafe:
Chili Cheese Corn Dog

There is, of course special commemorative merchandise at Pioneer Mercantile and Port Royale.

The cupcake and Berry Blast Drink. The cupcake had a chocolate dragon decoration that, while pretty, had a hard time staying upright and immediately lost its head. Kind of like the real thing, huh?
(Joke courtesy of MonorailMan)

DISPLAY ONLY of the popcorn shrimp

Apple Yam Salad

The food items that we sampled tasted great. Nothing ground breaking, but all good. The aforementioned cupcake's orange frosting tasted like vanilla and had a little cherry in the middle. Yummy! The only thing that was less than stellar was the visually pleasing Blueberry blast drink. It ended up being an expensive, saccharin-sweet blue berry flavored kool-aid. Nothing overly impressive aside from the blue glow.

As the time for the show approached special Disney Channel style remixes of park music played to keep the crowd entertained. For once, we wish Raffi (of Knott's Berry Farm) could have chosen the music. (Sorry Raffi, you know we love you.)

The show started off with a retrospective of news and interviews leading up to the opening of Fantasmic 20 years ago.

The pre-show was a great reminder of what a classic Disney experience the show has become. It has evolved, just like any attraction, but it has remained true to the spirit of imagination.

After the pre-show Fantasmic started and the real fun began.

Did good triumph over evil? We are about to find out!

In the end, Mickey wins the day! Disneyland's Fantasmic, is still the very best in theme park entertainment even after all these years.

Congratulations on 20 years Fantasmic. Here's to 20 more!

Today, Merida from Disney Pixar's Brave will begin meeting and greeting guests near it's a a small world and the parade gate.

Stop by and say hello to Merida and the wee playful bears. You will also be able to participate in activities inspired by Merida’s story.


While Cars Land is getting all the media coverage, we have a feeling that Buena Vista Street is going to be a sleep hit that will last the ages. What we've been able to see over the walls is nothing short of amazing and a complete transformation of a flat billboard style first act into a real life functioning place in time. Let us know what you think.

The level of detail on Buena Vista Street matches or exceedes what you'll find in New Orleans Square.


In the back of Hollywood Land, on the big sky wall that hides the Hyperion Theater, a pad near the restrooms has been completely cleared (we assume for the Mad T Party).

Painting on the stairs has been completed. Could we hope that they will some day be enclosed?


The House of Cards is in front of where Hollywood and Dine once was.

Ladies and gentlemen, the real reason for the Mad T Party . . . The bar!

performance stage with Mad Arcade in the background

The lighting package for the event is off the charts. There are huge video screens, and tons of fancy spots and special effects lighting.

Bricks! We have Bricks. The Ghirardelli facade in Pacific Wharf is finally coming out, slowly from the construction tarps. There isn't much to see yet. But here it is.

The front is still obscured.

With just a few weeks left to go, Cars Land is about to open to the world on June 15th. Of course, if you have the money you can see it earlier.

The Fastpass for Radiator Springs Racers is being set up in the old It's Tough to be a Bug Fastpass location in Bugs Land.

Cars Land Special Events
If you are willing to pay $50-$75 you can get into Cars Land for a few hours on June 9th and 10th. And if you have $500 you can dine in the new Carthay Circle restaurant (ouch).

The morning spots cost $50 and there is a $75 opportunity in the evening to see Cars Land AND a special performance of World of Color. Are you going to BRAVE it?

How can you get into the event on the 9th and 10th? Visit this link: Disneyland Just Got Happier

If the Disneyland Passholder tickets sell out, check with D23, they'll have a limited number of tickets available for the event today as well at the same prices for all of the options.

Imagineer, Steve Davison (of Haunted Mansion Holiday, World of Color, fabulous fireworks and parades) does a lot more than design night time extravaganzas. He also stages some pretty amazing choir performances in Long Beach. His latest creation is called The Sound of Muzak.

Poor Maria! All her life she's dreamed of being a lounge singer in Reno, but growing up in a failing convent-turned-mall run by the Sisters isn't as fabulous as she would like. She receives a new lease on life (and a reprieve from the hot-dog-on-a-stick cart) when she goes to assist the owner of the mall daycare manage unruly children. Will Maria find love or will she receive the calling? Will the Sisters save the mall or will they lose their home to a certain goose-stepping jeweler? These questions (and more) will be answered when SCC presents "The Sounds of Muzak.

We'll be there. How can we resist with a description like that?!

Tickets are already available here.

If you weren't lucky enough to get a spot in the Gumball Rally then you might want to go to Knott's Soak City for their opening day of the season

With slides and attractions for kids of all ages, Soak City is filled with summertime fun. Thrill seekers can take their turn down Old Man Falls or Pacific Spin. If floating leisurely down a lazy river is more your speed, grab an inner tube and jump in to Sunset River. Tickets are available online for $25.99 (ages 12 and up) and $22.99 (ages 3-11)!


Knott's Berry farm is under some intense pressure from the fans this year (us included) for Haunt. Why? Because it will be Knott's Scary Farm's 40th Anniversary. But if you want more information from them you have to visit their KSF Facebook page and give them a like. Once they reach 10,040 likes, they will begin sharing more info!


Save the Date! Saturday, September 22nd

Yes, it's a little bit early. But we would like to give all of our Halloween Haunt fans the first heads up. The MiceChat Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt event this year will be on
Saturday, September 22nd.

This is a very special year as it will be the 40th Anniversary of Halloween Haunt and Knott's has already promised a frightful evening of fun for our group.

Save the day for some spooky fun!

The work at the front of Ghost town is nearly complete. This was to build a more wheelchair accessible ramp for the restrooms here.

Work near the Medicine Man cart has finished up and all is back to normal.

The Ghost Town Playlist:
Here is the lovely selection of random music that they were playing in Ghost Town while we visited. They really loved Madonna in the wild west.

Finally, Windseeker has reopened.

Knott's announced the Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular was returning and they are already setting it up.

Starlight Spectacular is a really cute and upbeat event.

Welcome to another SeaWorld San Diego update. We are about one week away from the opening of Manta and the beginning of Summer Nights and the park is going under last minute refurbishments and touch ups before the big crowds rush in next Saturday.

The “Pay for a day, play all year” promotion is still available. Normally, this promotion ends in April, so it’s interesting SeaWorld is still letting it go. We just renewed our passes, and suggest you do the same before Manta opens.

Lights have been put back up around the SkyTower for Summer Nights.

The walkway between Manta and Rocky Point Preserve is blocked from park guests as new cement work is going on.

SeaWorld released this image on their Facebook showing off the new Manta sign on the rockwork at the front of the attraction. Looks beautiful.

The only questionable think about this attraction at the moment is the lack of landscaping at the rear of the attraction. While we are a week away, and anything could happen from now till then, SeaWorld hasn’t been touching this area, and honestly…it doesn't look very good in that portion of the ride area.

New walkways have been put up at the ride queue.

Workers are painting the cement floor blue to make it look more realistic when the water is added. The rock work at the front of the attraction is quite breathtaking!

SeaWorld released this image showing off their projection screen – where the ride will begin. Hopefully those doors will be closed when guests are in here so there isn't so much sun reflection!

After guests leave the tunnel, you dip and skid across the water – under the bridge – before being lifted over fifty feet.

A couple of things to notice here. First, notice the touch pool has been filled. Guests can also go underneath the touch pool for the aquarium – which is why there are windows in the touch pool. Also, SeaWorld was testing the ride several times while we were there – which happens daily.

More fencing work has been done around the launch of the ride.

The restrooms near the show buildings have been painted blue and have received some brick work.

Check out the fancy design! Looking good!

SeaWorld released this video of the construction of Manta this week. Some of the footage was filmed earlier in the year, but most was filmed recently. We also get to see the footage in the dome!

This is the last weekend to check out Viva La Musica!

Rehearsals have been going on all day for Cirque De La Mer’s return next week and the new trampoline act. If you look to the left side of the image, you can see part of the Viva La Musica stage.

Walls surrounding the restrooms and the Shamu Store have been brought down, opening the gap between them and the work walls around Shamu Stadium.

Next Week: MANTA!
Next week is a big week for SeaWorld. On Thursday and Friday, pass holders can ride Manta before it opens! We will be covering this in the next update. On Saturday, we will be at the opening ceremony of Manta and will be filming it for the first webisode of “In The Parks” – a brand new weekly series with updates from your favorite theme parks.

We have also been trying to update you on Wild Arctic. Unfortunately, Wild Arctic was going under refurbishment when we visited the park this week. Look out for an update in the near future.


MiceChat has a brand new monthly PodCast for you that's now in iTunes: MiceChat Podcast on iTunes or we have an RSS feed if you'd rather use that: MiceChat Podcast RSS

This month, Al Lutz, Doug Barnes, Dustysage and Fishbulb discuss Cars Land, Transformers and the epic fight for your tourist dollars this summer.

Today's In The Parks Update Has Been Brought To You By The WONDERFUL Folks At . . .

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Contact the Carousel today, and for the lowest rates, be sure to tell them MiceChat sent you.

Call: 1(800)854-6767 to book your stay today!

And check back next week for an exciting Cars Land inspired contest!

We'd like to extend a huge thanks to contributors JP, Abominable Snowman, Sir Clinksalot, CaptPhoebus, Fishbulb and Dustysage. (If you've got breaking news or photos to share, we'd love to hear from you too! Contact Dusty today

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Wherever you go and whatever you do this weekend, we hope you have a wonderful time. We'll see you In The Parks . . .

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Updated 05-18-2012 at 12:52 PM by Dustysage



  1. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    Great Update!!!!
  2. neodude's Avatar
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    Nice update! I don't think you have to worry about the sun reflection on the projection screen. If you watch the video he says "Suddenly after the show our show doors will open". They need to be closed in the first place in order to open
  3. indianajack's Avatar
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    Still wish BVS would have some kind of attraction, especially in the Carthay Circle Theater. I would have loved to see a rotating set of exhibitions like they did a few years ago in the Animation Building with Snow White. Historical shows like that would give BVS greater context and sense of time. Oh well...
  4. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Excellent update!
  5. mratigan's Avatar
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  6. dizneybeep's Avatar
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    unfortunately, the registration for the Fantasmic event ended for all dates on May 10....there is no way to register for it now. The tickets booths cannot add anymore AP's to the remaining events.
    Updated 05-18-2012 at 05:24 AM by dizneybeep (spelling)
  7. jcruise86's Avatar
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    That was one of my all-time favorite updates! Thank you!
  8. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great update!
  9. TCadillac's Avatar
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    I have to agree. The landscaping around Manta looks totally unfinished. It still looks like a construction site and it's supposed to be opening next week? Hopefully it all comes together.
  10. dgpollard's Avatar
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    Thank you for the wonderful update! I am sure that the pictures do not do it justice!

    I am curious about a couple of things:

    1) In the Buena Vista Street "tree / sitting area / flag pole hub" at the entrance, why aren't the side walk curbs elevated to the same height as that of the side walks just across the street where the buildings are? Is it because of current "building code / accessibility" issues? I think it looks a little off.

    2) In Cars Land, on "Route 66", are the "power poles" going to remain power-line free or will they be added in? This too will look little off because why even place the "transformer boxes", etc. if there is no physical "power-lines" connecting to them?

    I know these are pesty little details, but I can't help myself.....I am a professional Architectural Designer!

    Overall, Disney California Adventure will now at least be in the same league as Disneyland. I can't wait to take my family there in September!
  11. villagecreator's Avatar
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    ^ I'm sure the curbs were lowered in the center diamond on BVS to reduce tripping hazards at closing or during peak times when floods of people are heading straight to the gates.

    I have a question though: does anyone know if there are plans to turn back on the waterfalls at the splashdown for the Matterhorn? These falls have been off for so long and they look great in vintage photos when they were running...
  12. Irving's Avatar
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    Great update as always!.. Is good to see a Disney princess with the name of my home town (Or perhaps it is my hometown the one that has taken the name of an older Disney princess?? ) Anyway...It is a good thing!
    Updated 05-18-2012 at 08:59 AM by Irving (Gramatical correction)
  13. dfan07's Avatar
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    The apple fritters from Royal Street Veranda are nothing more than balls of stale bread with dried-up apple paste inside. The mac and cheese hot dog is pretty good, though.
  14. Not My Real Name's Avatar
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    McDonald's has Sea World coupons that allow you to save $20 online and $15 at the gate. You have to be a resident of Southern California to use them.
  15. ImagiNERDing's Avatar
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    Thanks! Love the photos...
  16. TwilitWings's Avatar
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    @dgpollard: I'm fairly certain they've actually already started adding powerlines! You can see them here: Magic Eye: Less Than A Month Away
  17. Susan Hughes's Avatar
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    I took that same photo of the construction at Carnation Plaza Gardens with the tractor and the tacky facade by sticking my camera under the service door with the big gap at the bottom.
    But beware, the CMs are looking out for people doing that. I got busted by a Custodian, of all people. He made me delete the pic I took.
  18. sinatra12's Avatar
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    Just noticed yesterday that if you walk near the smoking area outside Flynn's / Mad Arcade the wood covering the windows was down and i could just barely see inside