What's new in Hollywood, Los Angeles, Valencia and yes, even Anaheim...
by, 06-19-2009 at 04:30 AM
While the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA Championship is the talk of the town this week, a lot of other things also happened....
Universal Studios Hollywood Trams return to the New York Backlot area
Back on June 1st, 2008, Universal Studios Hollywood's New York Backlot area had a major fire.
Thursday, USH celebrated the return of the first Public Tram to the area
Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour Returns to Studio's Famous 'Courthouse Square' Location and Introduces New Hi-Def, State-of-the-Art Trams
LOS ANGELES, June 18 -- A marching band, famous movie "characters," and a champagne christening welcomed the re-opening of the famous Courthouse Square film location to Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour trams, which are now newly equipped as "mobile movie theaters" with hi-def video monitors, all-new video content and state-of-the art audio systems.
The re-opening of Courthouse Square marks a milestone in the largest set construction project in Hollywood history, an ongoing project undertaken by the studio following the four-acre June 2008 fire that impacted several famous film locations on the historic studio backlot. All of the other backlot locations are set to open in the spring of next year.
Courthouse Square, now fully restored, is the world's most-photographed town square, and the site of over a thousand movie and TV shoots dating back to the 1940s
The location is widely known as Hillsboro's main square in the "Back to the Future" film series. It was previously known as "Mockingbird Square" after serving as a principal location for the Oscar-winning "To Kill a Mockingbird." It was dressed as Buffalo, NY for Jim Carey in "Bruce Almighty," as River City, Iowa for the great musical, "The Music Man," as Wellman College for "The Nutty Professor," and as the center of Sweet Apple, Ohio in the classic "Bye Bye Birdie." It's been overrun by "Gremlins," by large people in "Village of the Giants" and aliens in "They Came From Outer Space." Steven Spielberg filmed it as the courthouse in "Amistad."
The CBS hit drama Ghost Whisperer has called the historical town square at Universal Studios home since 2005. According to the show's producers, "We are thrilled that it has been rebuilt and can't wait to start production for our fifth season premiering this fall on Fridays at 8pm/7pm central on CBS."
Universal Studios Hollywood(SM), The Entertainment Capital of L.A.(SM), includes a movie-based theme park and Studio Tour, the CityWalk entertainment, shopping and dining complex, the Universal Cinemas and the Gibson Amphitheatre concert and special event venue. The theme park features the groundbreaking attractions "The Simpsons Ride(TM)," "Revenge of the Mummy(SM) - The Ride," "Shrek 4-D," "Jurassic Park - The Ride" and the world-renowned Studio Tour, which takes guests behind-the-scenes of such landmark TV and movie locations and sets as Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" and ABC's hit TV series "Desperate Housewives." Universal CityWalk features 65 entertainment-themed restaurants, nightclubs, shops and dynamic entertainment options. The Universal CityWalk Cinemas, which includes California's largest IMAX venue, features the best movie-going experience in Los Angeles.
Universal Studios Hollywood is a unit of Universal Parks & Resorts, a division of Universal Studios, a part of NBC Universal. NBC Universal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May of 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric (NYSE: GE) , with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.
The new Hi-Def Tram Monitors
Kobe Bryant of the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers visits Disneyland
OK, first off, yes, Meg Crofton, President of Walt Disney World did walk down Main Street (In Florida) wearing a pair of "Lakers" Mickey Mouse Ears, paying off her friendly wager...
On the other hand, a LOT of Lakers Fans visited Disneyland in Anaheim yesterday...
Adam Townsend of the Orange County Register has additional coverage
Disney finally admits to the Disneyland Hotel remodeling
As reported here at MiceAge months ago, Disney has finally made the official announcement....
A couple of the rooms in the Dreams Tower have already been redone on the outside
Brady MacDonald at the Los Angeles Times discusses the upcoming changes.
The makeover is just that, a makeover of the current towers and will not result in any major construction projects.
Friendly Reminder - Labor Day Weekend brings a Marathon event to Disneyland
OK, so it's just a Half-Marathon, but it is very popular and does create a lot of traffic and guest flow issues on an already normally busy weekend.
And there is still some spaces left if you want to participate.
Last chance for Disneyland Resort Southern California Annual Passholders to attend the park until mid-August
This Sunday through Friday (June 21st through 26th) are the last few days that the SoCal AP holders can attend without buying a Blockout Pass until the end of the Peak Summer Season.
As Al Lutz reported earlier this week...
The last few days that the SoCal AP holders have been allowed into the park have created large crowds, as the guests try and check out the new "Summer Nightasmic!" offerings while they can. Monday and Tuesday, Disney even posted the "Disneyland is Full" signs (but of course, DCA is still available). But even those who wanted to visit DCA had a hard time, as the parking lots were full, and folks were being sent to Buzz Lightyear and Pongo to park (the old Strawberry Field location on Harbor, south of Katella).
So if you plan to visit the parks, get there early, and if you plan to drive, follow the signs to the first available Parking Lot. And if you might look at alternatives, such as Carpooling or using public transportation to get to the parks.
Six Flags files for Bankruptcy
Here is an open letter from the CEO of Six Flags, Inc.
June 13, 2009
To All Six Flags Employees:
As employees of Six Flags, your talents and dedication have been the most critical factor in the success of our business. Thanks to your efforts, Six Flags has achieved tremendous operational milestones and we now stand ready to take the next necessary step to improve our overall financial health and position the company for continued growth and opportunity.
The turnaround strategy we began implementing in the spring of 2006 has come to fruition. Together, we cleaned-up our parks, enhanced the overall guest experience, repositioned the Six Flags brand by diversifying our product offering, and the company became free cash flow positive for the first time in its history. We delivered on our agenda and as a result, rebuilt the faith, trust and overall relationship with the consumer.
Pride in our company across the workforce has also been restored.
Unfortunately, however, as you know, we inherited an unsustainable $2.4 billion debt load from the previous management team. To put it into context, even if you have a record year and make approximately $275 million as we did last year, when you have to pay out approximately $175 million in interest expense on your debt and $100MM in park improvements to maintain and keep up with the business, that's a balancing act you just can't risk year in and year out. Furthermore, we have over $400 million of debt coming due within the next 12 months that cannot be refinanced in these financial markets.
That's our situation in a nutshell.
Today, we are moving to rectify our balance sheet once and for all. This morning, Six Flags announced it is seeking expedited approval from the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware of its pre-negotiated plan of reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The plan has unanimous support of the lenders’ Steering Committee and the Administrative Agent for the Company’s $1.1 billion senior secured credit facility. This support is evidenced by executed lock-up agreements.
We expect to proceed quickly and we intend to emerge from these proceedings in the coming months with a significantly improved balance sheet and greater operational and financial flexibility.
Our brand and our operations are on solid ground. This process is strictly a financial restructuring of our debt and that’s how you should view it and speak about it.
No one should be confused about what a bankruptcy process means for Six Flags. Following a record year of performance in 2008, which completed the three-year turnaround of our system-wide park operation, this action to clean up the balance sheet paves the way for a full revival of the company. Believe me when I say we will emerge from this process stronger and more competitive than ever.
This was a difficult decision for management and the Board of Directors, but it is the right thing to do for Six Flags. It is critical that you - and our guests, suppliers, families, and friends - know that every park is open and operating today and will continue with normal operations this summer and for years to come. This restructuring process is strictly a “back of the house” effort to address and ensure the longstanding financial stability of Six Flags.
To address what must be foremost on your mind: ALL OF OUR EMPLOYEES WILL CONTINUE TO BE PAID IN FULL AND ON TIME. YOUR BENEFITS WILL CONTINUE. NO REDUCTION IN WORK FORCE WILL ARISE OUT OF THIS FILING.
Our suppliers and other partners will continue to be paid for their goods and services so our product and entertainment offerings will not suffer.
As the face of Six Flags, none of us can allow the distraction of this parent company issue to tarnish what we all have worked so hard to accomplish these past three years. That said, it is up to you to ensure that our guests continue to enjoy the high quality entertainment experience they have come to expect from us. We know from years of experience and research that the single most important factor in providing our guests a memorable experience is their positive interaction with our employees. Particularly in this difficult economic environment, all of us at Six Flags must re-dedicate ourselves to providing the friendly, clean, fast and safe service our customers now expect, and deserve. More than ever, consumers are gravitating toward experiences they know and trust. Six Flags has been a favorite family destination for almost a half century. Our reorganization will ensure that our parks will continue to entertain millions of guests for another 50 years.
With your continued efforts, these proceedings will allow us to emerge as a healthier, more dynamic company with a whole new world of opportunities. When this financial procedure is completed, Six Flags will have shed the greater part of a burden that threatened to undermine all our success. So, keep working hard and stay focused. At the same time, spread the word about what we've accomplished, what we're now doing and why. As an ambassador of the company, educate anyone and everyone around you. Feel free to share this note with your own social network – family, friends, neighbors, blogs, etc. Get the word out. People want to be informed.
As such, I will continue to relay pertinent information as it becomes available. In the meantime, I'd like to thank you for your continued support as we re-build the road to future success.
President and Chief Executive Officer Six Flags, Inc.
Selected Photos from Darkbeer.Smugmug.com
The "Cosmic" Ball is about ready to reopen with some new shade
The "New" Cocina Cucamonga opened yesterday
The former location is now behind walls, and expected to reopen by the end of the year
Work has started for the new Little Mermaid attraction
And a new fountain has been installed next to the new World of Color Amphitheater
Plenty more Six Flags Magic Mountain photos can be found at my Smugmug site
Yes, another new family of Baby Ducks can be found at Disneyland
And lastly, Happy Father's Day!!!!!!