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Dateline Disneyland

Celebration Point, Big Thunder Ranch & Repaving, Grand Californian, DCA, +MORE

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 03-01-2009 at 10:40 PM
Welcome again to Dateline Disneyland! In today's March 2nd column we'll take a look at the on-going projects around the Resort including the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ construction and Big Thunder Trail repaving. We'll also catch up on the construction going on at the Grand Californian Hotel expansion, a project we haven't updated you on in a few months. And of course, we'll look at the on-going construction in California Adventure's Paradise Bay. I'd like to first say thanks to the photographers who leant their time and photographs to this week's column while I was unable to visit the Resort. Many thanks to Fishbulb and Matt "2DieFR" Gottula for their contributions this week!

Of course, clicking on any of the Disneyland Resort or Disney's California Adventure Project Tracker photos will take you to the project tracker thread on MiceChat where you can get up-to-date news and info on the projects going on at the Resort!

Let's get to the update, shall we?

Disneyland plopped down a big new "Celebrate Today!" centerpiece in Town Square last week, leading to mixed reviews among fans.

In a mini-press release, Disney dubbed the new oversized balloon-and-confetti-spewing envelope "Celebration Point." The press release touts the centerpiece as a new photo-op for this year's "Celebrate Today!" campaign.
"Celebration Point" on Main Street, U.S.A offers guests a new place to take photos and mark their special occasions while celebrating at Disneyland. In 2009 guests will find a variety of ways to make their celebrations even more memorable at Disneyland, including street parties, behind-the-scenes tours, specialty foods and free admission on their birthdays.

Is it me, or does it seem a little desperate that Disney is sending out photos and information about a temporary photo-op as if it's really a worthwhile new offering for 2009?

While Disney continues to decorate Main Street in celebration decorations that are otherwise modern and un-Victorian, Main Street's extensive repaving project continues.

And Plaza Pavillion has lost many of its tarps as its facade refurbishment gets closer to wrapping up.

On Saturday Main Street's Disneyana shop hosted a two-hour "it's a small world" merchandise release and signing event featuring paper sculptor Dave Avanzino and Disney Legend Alice Davis. Mrs. Davis, a former Imagineer, is famous for her costume designs at some of Disneyland's most famous attractions including Pirates of the Caribbean and "it's a small world."

Dave Avanzino stands next to his "it's a small world" shadowbox.

Work continues in the Big Thunder Ranch and Trail projects.

The new food service area at Big Thunder Ranch is coming along, and is still planned to open at the beginning of April for the new Celebration Roundup and Barbeque.

Meanwhile, work on repaving Big Thunder Trail continues...

A lot of new equipment and construction materials appeared in Paradise Bay this weekend as construction for Disney's World of Color presses onward.



Work on the Pacific Wharf bridge continues as the area it connects to continues to get bulldozed.

The beautifully-themed new Games of the Boardwalk facades are coming together nicely.

It's been a while since we updated you on the progress at the Grand Californian where new Disney's Vacation Club villas are currently under construction. Fishbulb took these great shots looking over at Grand Californian construction from the Paradise Pier Hotel.

A "stained-glass" Celebrate Today! banner welcomes guests at the Grand Californian Hotel.

The Bakery Tour at California Adventure is closed for refurbishment. The attraction is scheduled to reopen March 13.

Back in Disneyland, Goofy's Playhouse is under tarps during its refurbishment

And to finish up the photos this week, Fishbulb and 2DieFR give us these great images from around the Resort.

THEME PARK HOURS 3/02 - 3/08
For a complete listing of theme park hours, please visit the Theme Park Calendar
Disneyland Park
Monday - Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday: 9 am - 12 midnight
Saturday: 8 am - 12 midnight
Sunday: 9 am - 12 midnight

Disney's California Adventure Park
Monday - Thursday: 10 am - 6 pm
Friday - Saturday: 10 am - 9 pm
Sunday: 10 am - 10 pm

Disneyland Park
  • Remember... Dreams Come True Fireworks Spectacular: Show dark while Main Street is repaved. Will return to a regular schedule in early March.
  • Goofy's Playhouse: Closes through March 20 for refurbishment.
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: Closed through March 13.
  • Mark Twain Riverboat: Closed March 9 - 11.
  • King Arthur's Carousel: Closed March 10 - 12
  • Conestoga Fries/Westward Ho Wagon: Dining location is removed, but a construction wall will go in the area for construction of new outdoor vending location.

Disney's California Adventure Park
  • Bakery Tour: Closed for refurbishment through March 13.
  • King Triton's Carousel of the Sea: Closes March 9.
  • Sun Wheel: Closed. Will re-open as Mickey's Fun Wheel in April 2009.
  • Games of the Boardwalk: Closed. Will re-open with new themes in April 2009.
  • Paradise Bay: Drained for construction of upcoming Disney's World of Color show.
  • Disney's World of Color Nighttime Spectacular: New show under construction. Debuts Spring 2010.
  • Golden State Park and Amphitheater: Closed. New, larger amphitheater for Disney's World of Color viewing under construction in same location. The new amphitheater will open December 2009.

The big news last week was the official announcement of the long-awaited return of "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" at the Main Street Opera House. Mr. Lincoln went on hiatus in 2004 when the Opera House closed to install the Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years show, a highlight of the 50th anniversary celebration. The Opera House will again close on Monday, March 16 to bring back an updated Mr. Lincoln show. When the Opera House reopens in the fall, the new show: The Disneyland Story featuring "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln will feature an all-new Mr. Lincoln stage show and a reworked lobby exhibit featuring the current 50th anniversary exhibits and the First 50 Years film.

Also part of the plan is a new home for the Disney Gallery which was evicted from its original home above Pirates of the Caribbean when the Dream Suite moved in early last year. The Disney Gallery will occupy the current location of the Bank of Main Street and will be connected in the Opera Houses' Disneyland exhibit space. The Bank of Main Street will close in mid-summer and reopen in the fall as the new Disney Gallery along with the new Mr. Lincoln show.

Here's the official Disney press release:
Updated 'Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln' Will Return to Disneyland Later This Year

Disney Gallery Will Find a New Home
In the Current 'Bank of Main Street'

Hiatus for 'Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years'
Begins March 16 as Main Street Opera House Prepares
For 'Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln' Homecoming

ANAHEIM, Calif. (February 25, 2009) – A longtime favorite of Disneyland guests will return as “The Disneyland Story, featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln,” an enhanced version of the show which appeared, in various forms, in the Main Street Opera House at Disneyland park from 1966 through 2004 . The attraction will reopen later this year in celebration of the 200th anniversary year of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.

The current Opera House presentation, “Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years,” will go on hiatus beginning Monday, March 16, in preparation for the new “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” show. When the updated “Disneyland Story, featuring Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” opens later this year, “Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years” will be presented as part of the “Disneyland Story” display of art, models and mementoes in the Opera House lobby.

Also planned for fall 2009 is a prominent new home on Main Street, U.S.A., for The Disney Gallery. Formerly located above Pirates of the Caribbean in New Orleans Square, The Disney Gallery houses treasured Disney artwork and collectibles representing creative efforts from throughout The Walt Disney Company. A frequently changing exhibit area often includes never-before-displayed art. The Disney Gallery’s new home will be in the Bank of Main Street building, located next door to the Main Street Opera House and currently serving as the headquarters for Disneyland Resort Annual Passport processing. The Bank will continue to operate as an Annual Passport center until mid-summer 2009. After that, Annual Passport processing will move to the Plaza Pavilion, near the entrance to Adventureland.

The original “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln” was created by Walt Disney and his Imagineers for the State of Illinois Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and featured the world’s first fully animated human Audio-Animatronics figure, built by Walt Disney Imagineering. The show, made its Disneyland debut in the Main Street Opera House on July 18, 1965.

Alright, that should finish up today's update. Many thanks again to Fishbulb and 2DieFR for all their help this week!

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter: The Dateline Disneyland Twitter is updated throughout the week with links to breaking news about Disneyland, mini updates, photos, and links to newsworthy MiceChat discussions. Twitter offers mobile updates sent directly to your cell phone so follow us and sign up for mobile updates to get mini Dateline Disneyland updates throughout the week! Or, if you've got an iPhone or G1, download a free Twitter app (like Twinkle or Twitterific) and stay connected with a simple tap of your finger!

See you here again next week!
- Andy

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Updated 03-02-2009 at 01:24 AM by Dateline Disneyland



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  1. Slscjk's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update. I really like the Dumbo ride photo.
  2. peoplemover1's Avatar
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    Great behind the scenes shots you guys!! I know how hard it is to get those!!!

    Great Dateline this week Andy!!

  3. nemo_finder's Avatar
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    like the pic. good job
  4. Kritter's Avatar
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    Great Job!
  5. b236en's Avatar
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    super duper Job this week.. Thanks for the update..
  6. caesarboxfan's Avatar
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    Great update, as usual!
  7. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great update and awsome photos!
  8. vfire's Avatar
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    Lots of photos around the park, thanks! Glad to see that Goofy's Playhouse is getting a refurb, it needed it. Has anything replaced the Crystals Shop in Fantasyland yet? The Celebrate Today signage is awful. When will Disney realize that DL needs no special hook for promotion. The beautiful park is the best promotion in itself.
  9. Petchaurus's Avatar
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    I love these pics all of you post. Thank you!

    I really like the Main Street "Celebrate Today" decorations. I do see your point in them not being time period but how can a person hate them? They are so bright and well crafted. I feel that they are a nice cheery way to celebrate and am surprised that some of you don't like them considering the feelings expressed about "Year of a million Dreams" decorations. This design is bettery quality and are much more more enjoyable in my opinion. Sigh...some people are never happy.
  10. Athlonacon's Avatar
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    I don't mind that the decorations don't match the 1900's theme, none of them ever really do, it's the gaudiness that really sticks out to me. Party Gras 1990 was an excellent example of how to do a "Celebration" theme correctly. This is so half-assed that it looks cheap and out of place. The decorations are always an overlay so I never expect them to fit with the theme, but I do expect them to fit with the *quality*.
  11. SouthHrbrBlvd's Avatar
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    "Celebration Point" is by far the ugliest, tackiest, and cheesiest display of junk to ever grace Main Street, U.S.A.

    Great update!
  12. Fishbulb's Avatar
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    Yes, wonderful update Andy. You always do such a great job. THANK YOU.

    My two cents on the celebrate campaign; I like it. I like it a heck of a lot more than the gelatinous year of a million dreams promotion that had no real cohesive feel and turned a visit to the resort into a sweepstakes. I even like to signage and Main street decor on the lamp posts. I DO think that celebration point is a little much. I am fine with the concept but the execution is way over the top. An envelope bursting with balloon tentacles that tower over the guests menacingly just doesn't have the same suggestive quality that the lamp decor does. I mean, really, there is NO WAY you can miss the thing. Take it down a few sizes and I would think it was fine. I am also not a fan of the Mickey planter at the front of the park.
  13. DonDuck's Avatar
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    Another fabulous update with fantastic pics! Looks like a whole lotta stuff going on right now.
  14. Disney1978's Avatar
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    It was great seeing those Small World costumes up close. If I had an extra $4,900.00 I might have bought one.

    That Big Thunder trail can get very congested. I will be very glad when that is over.

    Great work Andy and love the photos.
  15. whamo's Avatar
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    Nice update, well done. I'm looking forward to President Lincoln returning to Anaheim.
  16. daydream diva's Avatar
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    thanks for another great update Andy! It seems like by the time I make it back to Disneyland it will be a brand new park with all the work going on.

    Glad to hear that Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is coming back AND the Disney Gallery. I always loved spending time in there.
  17. cositaluvsmickey's Avatar
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    that was a wonderful report, as ususal.
  18. Young at Heart's Avatar
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    I like the lamp post decorations on main street, but the gaudy envelope and balloons in town square has to go! Move it somewhere else in the park, like Fantasyland, where it would fit in with the theme.
  19. Ryancr78's Avatar
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    The decorations aren't that bad, but I agree with the poster who said that Disneyland doesn't need a marketing hook. Honestly I doubt that the casual visitor to Disneyland even recognizes the whole Celebrate Today thing as a marketing campaign. I do think that the Harbor Blvd Disneyland sign with the "Celebrate Today" decorations is hideous though. Just design a nice, classy Disneyland sign with a fountain or something and leave it ALONE.
  20. wdwnut4life's Avatar
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    fab pics & comments everyone!!!
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