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Dateline Disneyland

Rounding up the Ranch, Signs of the Boardwalk, World of Construction, Fun Wheel +MORE

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by , 03-22-2009 at 10:35 PM
Welcome to the March 23rd edition of Dateline Disneyland. This week we'll take a look at the new Celebration Roundup and Barbeque at Big Thunder Ranch as it approaches its April 2nd opening. We'll also keep you updated on all of the work going on at Disney's California Adventure as the park's Paradise Pier area continues to see more and more change and construction every day.

Of course, if you want to keep up-to-date with the construction status and open dates of all of the major projects going on around the Resort, feel free to click on any of photos in today's update that feature the special Disneyland Resort Project Tracker or Disney's California Adventure Project Tracker watermarks and you'll be taken to the project tracker thread on MiceChat with the most up-to-date info available on the web!

Okay, let's get into this week's update!

The Main Street Opera House is now closed as the Disney prepares the revamped "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" show.

The new show is scheduled to open this fall. Cast Member communications are already listing the Opera House "refurbishment" as ending September 26. The 9/26 open date would fall on a Saturday, perfect for eager crowds of Annual Passholders, and would likely coincide with the start of Disney's HalloweenTime, which began the same weekend in 2008. Of course, this far out, dates can and often do change -- so we'll keep you updated as we get closer to the opening.

New posters announce the return of Mr. Lincoln and try to link it into his 200th birthday.

The old Hollywood-Maxwell's Intimate Apparel Shop facade is out from behind tarps after its brief refurbishment. The blue-and-white facade that originally housed the "Wizard of Bras" store from 1955-1956 is the current facade to half of Main Street's China Closet shop. You enter the China Closet to the left of the blue facade, in one of those two doors on the coral facade.

Fresh paint.

Construction continues at Big Thunder Ranch's new Celebration Roundup and Barbeque dining location. This week, the new signage was painted on the new "barn" and a new "Celebration" backdrop can now be seen on the Big Thunder Ranch stage.

Lunch or dinner at the new Celebration Roundup will cost $28.99 for adults and $18.99 for children. The meal consists of traditional barbeque fare (chicken, ribs, beans, coleslaw, corn on the cob) and comes with a special "Cowboy Cone Cake" dessert. The dining location is full-service, but the meal is served family-style on platters. Drinks are included.

The Celebration Roundup and Barbeque opens April 2 and Priority Seating Reservations can be made now by calling Disney Dining at (714) 781-DINE.

Major construction continues in Disney's California Adventure (DCA).

The refurbished and repainted gondolas have begun to be installed on Mickey's Fun Wheel. The gondolas are wrapped up though, presumably to keep them safe from any potential hazards from the on-going work on the Fun Wheel. The attraction is scheduled to open late next month.


Sometimes photos have a hard time showing the real scale of construction going on in Paradise Bay, but when you see the the little construction workers in these shots, you'll realize just how big the World of Color construction is.

The viewing area's dirt hill is beginning to level out.

The Carousel has more scaffolding...

More signs have been installed on the new Games of the Boardwalk facades

Looks great!

Nice new lighting fixtures

Work continues around the Orange Stinger (soon to be Silly Symphony Swings) as groundwork for the new shaded boardwalk queue for the Swings gets underway.

The work here is only the beginning though... there's still a long way to go before the Orange Stinger is transformed into the Silly Symphony Swings seen in the concept art below.

Work continues at the former location of the Lucky Fortune Cookery on Pacific Wharf as it becomes a larger version of the nearby Cocina Cucamonga.

Back in Disneyland, the walls have been removed from the back side of the Harbor Galley

It looks like nothing major -- just some work on the ground nearby. There is still no word on if or when this location might re-open and serve food again.

Over in Fantasyland, the Stromboli's Wagon merchandise cart has returned.

And in Tomorrowland, a new Project Tomorrow banner has appeared on the outside of Innoventions, replacing the Adventure Thru Inner Space banner.

A new line of Mickey Garden Gnome merch has hit the shelves in time for spring.

Mickey gnome figurine: $28.95

Flower pot: $12.95

Rain meter: $10.95

Wind chime: $14.95

And a couple more Easter offerings are available
Egg platter: $8.95

Finger tip towel: $7.95

Pencils: $3.95

And to finish out the photos this week, some shots from around the park...

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: 8 am - 11 pm
Tuesday - Thursday: 9 am - 11 pm
Friday - Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight

Disney's California Adventure Park
Monday - Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday: 10 am - 9 pm
Saturday - 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.
  • Celebrate! A Street Party: Debuts March 27.
  • King Arthur's Carousel: Closed March 31.
  • Goofy's Playhouse: Closed through April 3.
  • Celebration Roundup and Barbeque: Opens at Big Thunder Ranch April 2, 2009
  • Bibbity Bobbity Boutique: Opens April 17, 2009
  • Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years/Main Street Opera House: Closed. Reopens as The Disneyland Story: Featuring Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln September 26, 2009.

Disney's California Adventure Park
  • Sun Wheel: Closed. Will re-open as Mickey's Fun Wheel April 24, 2009.
  • Games of the Boardwalk: Closed. New games will open in April 2009.
  • The Bakery Tour: Closed through March 30.
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: Closes April 27 for unknown duration.
  • King Triton's Carousel: Closed through May 20.
  • The Lucky Fortune Cookery: Unused food service location is being converted into larger Mexican-style food dining facility. Opens June 14.
  • 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.

Surprisingly, the new D23 fan club is proving to be a useful tool for news and information for Disney fans, including us Disneyland fans. The D23 web site's news page has a useful "Twilight Bark" news blurb feature that gives little updates on theme parks, movies, and more. Twilight Bark shared news this week that DCA's Golden Dreams show would have its final showing yesterday in a private event for Cast Members.

03.18.09 Golden Farewell
Golden Dream, one of the original attractions at Disney's California Adventure, is closing to make way for a brand-new attraction themed after The Little Mermaid. The final showing will take place at a special event for Cast Members on March 22.

D23 also has a great feature chronicling the career of Disney Legend and Walt Disney Imagineer Dorothea Redmond who recently passed away on February 27. Redmond is widely known for her interior designs for Disneyland's Plaza Inn Restaurant, the original designs for the Royal Suite - Walt Disney's private apartment in New Orleans Square (he passed away before it was completed, it is now the Disneyland Dream Suite), and a lot of work at Walt Disney World.

Celebrating the life of Dorothea Redmond
[ . . . ] After receiving her degree in Interior Design from the University of Southern California School of Architecture and attending Art Center College in Pasadena, California, Dorothea made a name for herself working on film productions like Gone with the Wind (1939) and Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940). Dorothea also worked at RKO with famed French director Jean Renoir, and at Universal Studios and at Paramount where she helped design the great sets for The Road to Bali (1952). After working with Charlie Chaplin on Limelight (1952) and with Hitchcock again on Rear Window (1954), Dorothea joined an architectural firm. Tired of "10 years of working weekends to meet Monday deadlines," she joined WED (now Walt Disney Imagineering) in October of 1964.

Some of her first Disney work involved the transformation of Disneyland's Red Wagon Inn Restaurant into the sumptuously appointed Plaza Inn. Working with art director and Disney Legend John Hench, Dorothea transformed the Inn into a graceful dining facility that was one of Walt's favorite spots to host guests. Her next project was to design interior settings for New Orleans Square. Dorothea created many interior and exterior views of the area restaurants and shops, her evocative style bringing a rich reality to the finished work.

Working with art directors Bill Martin and Bob Brown, as well as with Walt himself, Dorothea developed the interior paintings of the Royal Suite, a Disney family hideaway atop New Orleans Square, once the home of The Disney Gallery and currently the Disneyland "Dream Suite." Redmond remained at WED to work on the Walt Disney World project in Florida, where her work was varied and prolific, including studies for Fantasyland, renderings for an architecturally opulent Main Street and an Adventureland area development that communicated a feminine and ethereal mood of exotica. She also designed the elaborate murals in the entry passage through Cinderella Castle. The five 15-by-10-foot panels were realized in a million pieces of multicolored Italian glass, real silver and 14-karat gold and were duplicated for Tokyo Disneyland a decade later. Some of her final renderings were of the folksy frontier buildings of the Fort Wilderness area.

For the full article, visit the D23 website.

And while Disney asks "What Will You Celebrate?" this year, D23 (the free website is actually a pretty great little corner of the web for Disney fans!) takes a look back at the various celebrations that have marked Disneyland's milestones throughout the years.

Party all year long!
"What will you celebrate?" A simple enough question, but this year it conjures up all kinds of emotions and feelings. Chief among them, at least for Disneyphiles around the world, is the chance to spend some time at one of the Disney theme parks and create new and lasting memories. These celebrations birthdays, graduations, weddings, anniversaries and family reunions come in all shapes and sizes. Many of them will happen right here at the Disneyland Resort. And they will be added to the thousands of memories from celebrations held there in the past. Let's take a stroll through a virtual scrapbook of yearlong parties gone by.

"I just want to leave you with this thought, that it's just been sort of a dress rehearsal and we're just getting started." Walt Disney himself spoke these words at the kickoff of Disneyland's 10th anniversary in 1965. The park's Tencennial a clever twist on the word "centennial" was the first really big, yearlong celebration at Disneyland. Highlighted by the grand opening of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the year also saw the arrival of the park's 50,000,000th Guest, and a Christmas-themed Tencennial Holiday Festival including flights by the fondly remembered "Rocket Man." (And just where are those personal jet packs they promised us in the future?!).

Ten years later saw the first of what would become almost an in-joke in Disney theme park lore the yearlong celebration that actually lasted more than a year. America on Parade was an extravaganza, complete with costumed characters with oversized heads, that commemorated the American Bicentennial. The parade ran at Disneyland (and simultaneously at the Magic Kingdom in Florida) from June 1975 to September 1976. Moving ahead five years to 1980, Disneyland reached the 25-year mark and celebrated with a yearlong Disneyland 25th Birthday Parade and a Happy Birthday Disneyland character show on the Plaza Gardens Stage.

Don't miss the full article at the D23 webiste.

And finally, don't forget the new Walt Disney and the 1964 World's Fair 5-CD box set will hit shelves on Tuesday, March 24. The 5-disc set is a must-have for any Disneyland fan, as it showcases the audio for the attractions Walt Disney and his Imagineers created for the 1964 New York World's Fair. Disney's involvement in the World's Fair lead to the development of groundbreaking shows and attractions like the Carousel of Progress, "it's a small world" and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. The technology developed and the lessons learned from the work at the World's Fair would prove to be pivotal for Disneyland's history and would help secure it as the industry leader. You can buy the new CD set at Amazon for $34.99 (a $15 savings off the $49.98 retail price!).

Here's the product description:
Walt Disney and the 1964 World's Fair is a rare behind the scenes look at Walt Disney's contribution to the 1964 World's Fair. It was here where Walt unveiled several unique attractions and exhibits that would forever change not only Disneyland, but greatly influence the future of Disney Theme Parks yet to be imagined. This 5-CD Set includes a 24-page full color booklet and more than three hours of recordings from the classic attractions and exhibits Walt Disney and his team of artists created for the 1964 New York World's Fair.

Progressland: Behind-the original World's Fair scenes recordings and original music from the Progressland Exhibit, featuring a never-before released production of Carousel of Progress.

Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln: Experience the sounds of the original Illinois Pavilion. As a special treat, you'll hear the original recording sessions of the man who gave Mr. Lincoln his voice (Royal Dano) and listen to the lavish original score by Disney legend Buddy Baker also presented as individual tracks.

"It's A Small World": Includes the original demo recording of the legendary song as well as isolated vocals and a grand master mix of the varied international interpretations of the famous tune directly from the attraction soundtrack. Also included is a tour of this charming "little boat ride" with Walt Disney as your guide.

Magic Skyway: Takes you on a time-traveling "road trip" with Walt Disney as he personally escorts you hrough the Age of Dinosaurs, the ascent of man, and to the distant future.

BONUS DISC: Carousel of Progress - Alternate Universe Version

Alright, that should wrap up this week's update. I'd like to once again say thanks to the nice folks who have donated to Dateline Disneyland in the past couple weeks. Your contributions are what keep Dateline Disneyland coming to your computer every week. So thank you for the support! If you'd like to donate to Dateline Disneyland via PayPal, click here

Also, if you still haven't checked out Twitter, head over there today (or look to the right of this) and see why over 1,300 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, or check out the widget to the right to follow us!

See you here again next week!
- Andy

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Updated 03-23-2009 at 01:50 AM by Dateline Disneyland



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  1. Rixter's Avatar
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    Thanks Andy.
  2. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great update Andy!
  3. sir clinksalot's Avatar
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    Great stuff Andy, as always. The Big Thunder Ranch looks nice, graned I'll never eat there because of the prices. But it still looks nice.
  4. Pretzel's Avatar
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    Yikes, $30 for a BBQ lunch? I suppose I should reserve final judgment until I've eaten it, but at that price, I'm all the more hesitant to even try.

    On the plus side, at these prices, this will probably keep the numbers small so the lines won't be as long.
  5. xalesa's Avatar
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    Another wonderful update. Great photos; I especially love the ones of the signs. I love photographing signs myself. Nice touch!
  6. rtshuttles's Avatar
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    Great update, awesome photos.
  7. cositaluvsmickey's Avatar
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    Thanks for your update...They make my monday blues go away just for a bit anyways.
  8. pratt55's Avatar
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    Thanks for providing some 'scale' to all the work being done at DCA. Great job.
  9. disneymademoiselle's Avatar
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    If the BBQ is of the same caliber as Whispering Canyon Cafe, I'd consider forking over the $30 (no pun intended ), but often times Disneyland and good food just don't go hand-in-hand. I'll just have to wait and see, but the Ranch does look like it will be nice.

    Also, I'm pretty sure I'm going to need a Mickey garden gnome. What a cutie!

    Love the picture of the Main Street Electrical Parade window. I've never noticed it
  10. Dustysage's Avatar
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    I like the Mickey gnome as well. They should have all of the fab 5 as a little gnome family.
  11. Kritter's Avatar
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    awesome update!
  12. wdwnut4life's Avatar
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    great update as usual
  13. dlandjimmy's Avatar
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    Thanks Andy, good stuff.

    Is the Hollywood-Maxwell's Intimate Apparel Shop where the benches used to be? If it is, I don't see any benches in that picture. It would be very sad if they took that nice seating area away.
  14. MickeyMousePal's Avatar
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    great update Andy!
  15. BigThunder's Avatar
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    Great update Andy. Thanks especially for the close-up pics of the signs on Main Street and elsewhere. As an artist and designer, these wonderfully themed and intricate graphics have always been one of my favorite little details of the park.
  16. Gemini Cricket's Avatar
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    $28.99! Wow. That's expensive!
  17. filmfreak11's Avatar
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    I wonder if the $30 BBQ is to charge for the atmosphere... like with Blue Bayou.
  18. MarkTwain's Avatar
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    In response to the high prices of the Celebration Roundup, hopefully they will come down after the Celebration campaign ends.

    Paradise Pier looks great! Can't wait for those shrouds to come off the gondolas.
  19. Goover's Avatar
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    Food is the only way for disney to gain a continuous revenue from their recurring AP holders.

    Why is it such a shock that a BBQ is thirty bucks. Unless you've had less than five visits to the park (varying on which pass you bought), you basically got in free.
  20. DrMemory's Avatar
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    "renderings for an architecturally opulent Main Street and an Adventureland area development that communicated a feminine and ethereal mood of exotica."

    That sounds really interesting, I'd love to see that art work. I'm fascinated by unused concepts for lands and rides, and somewhat wistful over some that I would have liked to have seen used, like the Jazz-age version of Main Street proposed for Euro-Disney (as it was then) with its Electric-Railway-as-later-used-at-Disneysea.
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