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Dateline Disneyland

Facades in Paradise, World of Color work, Big Thunder Trail repaving, +MORE

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by , 03-09-2009 at 12:28 AM
Hello and welcome to the March 9th edition of Dateline Disneyland! Construction at the Disneyland Resort's various projects continues to chug along and we're here to give you a look at the progress.

Before we start, I'm happy to say that Dateline Disneyland has over 1,000 followers on Twitter! If you haven't joined us at Twitter yet, check it out today and join over a thousand other Disneyland fans who are kept up-to-date on the latest Disneyland Resort news and info throughout the week! Check us out now at or find out more at the end of today's update.

Alright, let's get to it, shall we?

The parking level signs at the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure have been swapped out with partying characters to tie into the Celebrate Today! campaign. It's a subtle, but nice touch.

The walls have come down along Main Street as the large section of Town Square and portion of Main Street have completed their repaving.

Part of the China Closet's facade is behind tarps as it gets some fresh paint.

Big Thunder Trail continues its repaving project, and it seems to be coming along nicely.

Walls are still up, but the west side of the trail is about done, and walls should be moving to the other side soon enough.

Walls have been removed from the entrance of the Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo entrance and a look at the new pavement can be seen.

The Big Thunder Ranch rock work is uncovered and its new paint job is now out in the open.

I understand the paint design, but when compared to Big Thunder Mountain, it seems a little wrong.

Behind the Celebration Roundup construction walls, the progress at the foodservice location can be seen.

Over at Disney's California Adventure (DCA), regular guests might be irritated by the maze of construction walls and the sight of a construction-riddled Paradise Bay, but for us here at MiceChat, the construction is exciting and promising. Disney is, however, making an effort to explain what all the construction is for by decorating construction walls, adding informative signs, and of course, opening the Walt Disney Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar.

Construction walls at the former Christmas tree point has new "YOU ARE HERE" maps. Interestingly, the maps are the new DCA "fun map" that depicts DCA as it will be in 2012. It's a good idea, and it is certainly a helpful thought to show guests where they're at as they enter a corridor of construction walls, but it might be more helpful to show the park as it currently is, not as it will be in another few years. But with a new fun map that cool and packed full of so many upcoming goodies, can you blame Imagineering for wanting to show it off whenever they can?

The bridge to Paradise Pier has gotten more signage and another lenticular panel explaining the upcoming World of Color show and what goes into building a big, new mega-show.

The Finding Nemo panel remains, and next to it a new panel with the concept art for the Pocahontas scene is now up.

An informative sign next to Pocahontas gives a "creative glimpse" at the new show.

Another new sign next to the Finding Nemo panel tells us what goes on "behind the magic" to put on a show like World of Color.

The new viewing area is still a big pile of dirt and work around its perimeter in the Bay continues to press along.

Looking at concept art for the upcoming viewing area, you can see a new wooden boardwalk-style expansion of the existing space. This expansion of the area will help make room for the 9,000 guests that the new tiered World of Color viewing area will be able to accommodate.

A photo of a model of the area shows another view of the area, but instead of a wooden boardwalk it is just an extension of the concrete area. Time will tell us if the Imagineers decided to go with the wooden boardwalk or the concrete, but either way, the expansion of this area will help with the crowds gathering to see Disney's greatest new nighttime show.

Back to the construction, it seems like more and more equipment is added to Paradise Bay every week.

The new facades at the Games of the Boardwalk have been uncovered and they look spectacular.

Compared to the flat stucco-and-vinyl facades that greeted guests for the last 8 years, the new facades are light years better.

In photos, the colors might seem a little much, but in person they work great, and will work even better after the Paradise Pier shops are redone.

Looking at concept art on display in the Blue Sky Cellar, the new facades seem to be right on track with the plans.

The model mock-up of the games look right on track, too.

Even the facades on the big Paradise Pier model pretty accurately depict the new facades in the park.


A few weeks ago we showed you photos of the Fun Wheel queue handrails being painted dark green, but they've now been painted a dark red.

New construction walls have gone up next to the Orange Stinger as work in the Bay next to it gets busier.

Back in Disneyland, the new "Celebration Point" envelope has some fancy new lighting at night.

Colorful LEDs and projections of falling confetti on the balloons makes it look a little better than it does during the day, but that doesn't change that it is totally inappropriate for Main Street USA's turn-of-the-century aesthetics.

The Tomorrowland-side track of the Matterhorn Bobsleds was closed as the tracks undergo standard brake testing. The Fantasyland-side track was open to guests. The Matterhorn will be fully open again March 14.

Disneyland collectible artists Kevin Kidney and Jody Daly have made a brown version of the popular Enchanted Tiki Room "Rongo Tiki Drink Bowl" that was initially released in a green glaze for the Enchanted Tiki Room's 45th Anniversary last year. The new Rongo Drink Bowl is a limited edition of 500 and available for $40 in Disneyana on Main Street or at the Adventureland Bazaar.

Also available is a new paperback edition of late Imagineer John Hench's "Designing Disney" book. The hardcover edition, released in 2003, has been out of print for a while now, so this new paperback edition is a good option if you never got a copy of the hardcover book. It's a great read, and one of the best volumes on Imagineering that Disney has released to date. Disneyana is selling the book for $19.95, but you buy it on Amazon for only $13.57!

And to end our photo section, some shots from around the park...

THEME PARK HOURS 3/09 - 3/15
Disneyland Resort theme parks are beginning to increase operating hours as more schools break for spring recess. Operating hours will increase with crowd sizes over the next few weeks. Be sure to plan your trip to the parks accordingly. For a complete listing of theme park hours, please visit the Theme Park Calendar
Disneyland Park
Monday - Thursday: 9 am - 9 pm
Friday: 9 am - 12 midnight
Saturday - Sunday: 8 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: Performances nightly through spring break season. Show is expected to end permanently following the 2009 peak spring break season. A new show will replace Remember this summer.
  • Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years/Main Street Opera House: Closes March 16 for installation of new "Mr. Lincoln" show. New show opens Fall 2009.
  • Goofy's Playhouse: Closed through March 20 for refurbishment.
  • Mark Twain Riverboat: Closed through March 11.
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds: One track closed through March 13.
  • King Arthur's Carousel: Closed March 10 - 12

Disney's California Adventure Park
  • Bakery Tour: Closed for refurbishment through March 13.
  • 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.
  • King Triton's Carousel of the Sea: Closed through May 20.
  • 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.

Disney has been teasing a new offering in the past few months with teaser posters around the Disneyland Resort asking "Are You 23?" A website ( the same question and a countdown clock to March 10 is also up, counting down the seconds until Disney reveals what the big mystery is on March 10.

Unfortunately for Disney, clever Disney fans have been doing some digging and discovered that a new "official Disney fan community" called D23 will be announced on March 10. On March 5th the Distant Creations blog gave a sneak peek at the quarterly magazine that will be released in conjunction with the new fan club, which includes information on an upcoming "D23 Expo" which will be held in Anaheim. From the Distant Creations blog:

Disney Twenty Three Magazine Reveals Convention and Fan Club Details
At least one Barnes & Noble store has put out the new quarterly “Disney Twenty Three” magazine a few days earlier than they were supposed to and DC blog reader Joseph has sent me the details about it.

A membership to the new D23 fan club includes:
  • A membership card with a personalized charter member certificate with characters drawn by David Pacheco
  • A surprise collectible gift for D23 members from the new Walt Disney Archives collection
  • Exclusive special events and merchandise opportunities
  • Discounted admission to the D23 Expo on 9/10-9/13/09 in Anaheim, CA

That’s right, an official Disney convention for fans will be taking place in or near Disneyland from Sept. 10-13, 2009, one day after the 40th Anniversary event for The Haunted Mansion. Note that being a member of D23 only grants you discounted admission, which means the event will be open to anyone willing to pay to attend.

The new magazine costs $15.95 and comes out four times a year. The premiere issue’s cover contains a photo of Walt Disney looking through the camera and the back cover is black with a quote from Walt that reads, “It seems to me that we have a lot of story yet to tell”.

Another Disney fan site, Stitch Kingdom, got their hands on a copy of the magazine and has some scans of the new periodical - you can check it out at Disney will be officially announcing everything about "Are you 23?" Tuesday, March 10.

Speaking of "Are You 23?" -- a merchandise release for the new D23 club will be held at Disneyana on Saturday, March 14 from 9 - 11 a.m. with Disney Master Artist Dave Pacheco. Here is all the info from
Dave Pacheco Product Release & Signing -"Are you 23?"
Date: Saturday, March 14, 2009
Time: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Location: Disneyana Shop, Main Street, U.S.A.

Join us as we welcome Disney Master Artist Dave Pacheco for a very special artist appearance and signing on Saturday, March 14, 2009. Dave will be on hand to sign a selection of artwork, a t-shirt and a pin featuring some of Disney's most beloved characters. Additional information about this exciting event will follow the March 10, 2009 announcement revealing the answer to "Are you 23?" To find out more about "Are you 23?" visit

And while we're linking to it for the Are You 23? release, it looks like Disney is phasing out their long-standing website with the new The new website launched last week and still has some technical kinks to work out, but is a suitable replacement for the simple, but dated The old remains online for the time being.

Alright, that should finish up today's update. Thanks, as always for reading and be sure to discuss the update in the comments section below!

Also, if you still haven't checked out Twitter, head over there today and see why over 1,000 other Disneyland fans have already started following Dateline Disneyland! The Dateline Disneyland Twitter is updated throughout the week with links to breaking news, 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! Head over to to follow us!

See you here again next week!
- Andy

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Updated 03-10-2009 at 11:25 PM by Dateline Disneyland (Added column banner.)



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  1. DisneyFunGuy's Avatar
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    Once again, I think the new *Celebration Point* photo location looks amazing on Main Street. And who's to say that something this colorful and decorative didn't actually take place back in the Turn of the Century??? Were YOU there? And when I'm near that photo-op, I've heard nothing but positive things from guests...they love it, and so do I. Great job, Disney!
  2. b236en's Avatar
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    Great update thanks............
  3. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great update Andy!
  4. toemblem's Avatar
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    And who's to say that something this colorful and decorative didn't actually take place back in the Turn of the Century??? Were YOU there?
    I was there. There was a Y2k scare and some bubbly. Oh and back in those days we only paid $1.60 a gallon for gas. Of course that didn't matter because we walked to work, uphill, both ways and we liked it.
  5. danyoung's Avatar
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    I tend to agree with DisneyFunGuy. Although I have yet to see the big sign in person, I don't think it's a slam dunk that the sign doesn't fit. I never really thought the big slot machine fit into the central plaza from that promotion years back, but a lot of people loved it. Some people are just too theme-specific, in my opinion.

    Other than that, great update, Andy!
  6. Dustysage's Avatar
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    So, "Are You 23" is an attempt to undermine successful fan sites like MiceChat? Excellent! We have arrived!!!
  7. cositaluvsmickey's Avatar
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    Great job on the update...makes my mondays
  8. DarthBrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy
    Colorful LEDs and projections of falling confetti on the balloons makes it look a little better than it does during the day, but that doesn't change that it is totally inappropriate for Main Street USA's turn-of-the-century aesthetics.
    And a giant Mickey Mouse Pumpkin is?
  9. FerretAfros's Avatar
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    I really don't understand why everybody is saying that the Celebration decorations don't fit in with the Main Street theme. Of course they don't. Neither does the giant Mickey pumpkin for Halloween, the enormous Christmas tree for Christmas (especially now that they have it filled with LED's that transform it to a snow-ey look every night), the YOAMD mirrored castle signs on the lampposts, or the gold lampposts with Tinkerbell from the 50th. Not a single one of those things would have been there in Victorian times.

    It's a temporary decoration for a temporary promotion. Honestly, I would be surprised if it's even there for more than 6 months total. They were a little late putting it in (because of the construction work going on), and it will be taken out in early September for the Halloween stuff, which also doesn't fit in at all. As far as I'm concerned, it's fun and temporary (and not nearly as ugly as many of Disney's past promotions) and Main Street has always had a turn-of-the-century-mixed-with-modern-times theme. How else can they justify what they sell there?

    Sure, you may not like the way that it looks, but calling it out because it doesn't fit the theme of the area is rediculous because the seasonal decorations of Main Street never do fit the theme. It's a nice addition while it lasts, and the end is in sight.
  10. wdwnut4life's Avatar
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    what a fab group of pics!!! hope I can download 'em soon!!!
  11. RegionsBeyond's Avatar
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    Great update again, and as always, love the Haunted Mansion photos.
  12. HSM Fans2's Avatar
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    Grat update! I actually like th envelope on Main Street. It could be better, but I still like it at night and during the day.
  13. 3rd Echelon's Avatar
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    Excellent update. Thanx! Glad to see the walls come down around Main St. The paving work looks excellent. Can't wait for the Big Thunder Ranch area to be completed as well.
  14. mickeyandme67's Avatar
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    Andy, I really like the look of the new paint on the old Nature's Mine Train rocks. They look fantastic. Don't get too hung up on the different look of the rocks in the area, as in nature, rocks can look very different, even ones right next to others. The new paint makes the area not so homogenized, true, but it for me is a welcome change!
  15. JAG107's Avatar
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    Stunning photos, thanks a million!
  16. ~WiLdOrCa!~'s Avatar
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    I think Celebration Point looks better at night than it did during the day.... I think it's the lighting of it. Can't wait to see it all in June! Thanks for all the updates! Oh yeah, and the colors of the facades on the boardwalk.. outstanding!
  17. DisneyBoi805's Avatar
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    I cant wait to see the new main street decoration for my been almost 3 weeks since ive been to disneyland and boy do i wanna go already...Gret update this always makes my mondays hehe ans i cant not wait for this D23 to premier tommorow
  18. Barbossa's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update. Maybe instead of asking:
    "Are you 23?"
    they should ask:
    "Do you have $23?"
  19. hotmonkeyjc's Avatar
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    As always fun to read.
  20. TacAlert's Avatar
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    Is that to say also that at the turn of the century, and I am assuming we mean the 20th century, that cars and horse drawn carriages stopped working at night and people crowded the streets and sat there to watch fireworks?

    Also, at the turn of the century into the 20th, was there bright colored lights that worked on automatic lifts that came up at night and illuminated the street. Was there fake snow also falling over this turn of the century street? Was there music be played through stereo speakers at the turn of that century also?

    The decoration works just fine. It is not bad at all.
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