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Celebrate! A Street Party, DCA construction, Monorail Orange, +MORE

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by , 03-29-2009 at 11:31 PM
Welcome to the March 30th edition of Dateline Disneyland. This week we'll take a look at Disneyland's new parade that rolled out to mixed reviews on Friday. We'll also check in on various DCA construction, and other odds and ends around the parks. I'd like to first thank Matt "2DieFR" Gottula for helping out again this week.

As always, you can click on any of the Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure Project Tracker images to be taken to the threads on MiceChat where you can find the latest news and info on various projects around the Resort.

Alright, lets get to it, shall we?

Of course the big news this week was the debut of Disneyland's new parade, "Celebrate! A Street Party."

You won't hear Disney call the new show a parade, and that's because the show is set-up as a street party that stops three times along the parade route and invites guests to sing and dance in the streets.

It's unfortunate that this parade is preceded by the now-defunct Parade of Dreams. Not only was the Parade of Dreams a full-fledged Disney parade, but the the parade's seven floats offered striking visuals, kinetic magic, and dramatic lighting and water features. Aside from a few stilt-walkers and some cyclists, Celebrate! is largely all of the same curved metal and bright primary colored Mickey balloons and cut-out confetti.

So is this parade worth watching? Obviously that's up to individual guests to decide. Some folks like parades, some don't. Some will like Celebrate!, others won't -- and it's clear from the MiceChat boards that this show is getting some very mixed reviews.

If you prefer traditional Disney full of nostalgia and whimsy with layered theming and lots of detail, then this parade probably isn't for you. Celebrate is definitely stripped-down and obviously budget-conscious. The music is loud, the colors are brash, and the costumes hip. The show leans closer towards Disney's California Adventure's former Block Party Bash parade and is almost completely incomparable to the Parade of Dreams.

This noisy, irreverent, and contemporary show is everything Disneyland is not. And to be fair, it appears that was the point. But should it have been the point?

I would have preferred it not to be. Mickey is seen wearing a shiny silver sequined hoodie underneath a black coat while he sports zipper-adorned track pants, and Minnie wears her bow off to the side in an attempt to be young and hip.

The "street party" is hosted by loud MCs who tend to yell into their microphones, asking the audience what they're celebrating. The MCs dance obnoxiously and sing loudly along with the parade soundtrack. It's unfair to blame this on the performers -- they're only doing their job, and they're doing it enthusiastically. But the end result is an annoying addition to the already loud mess of noisy pop songs.

The MC's costume includes the ever-so-cool wallet chain and bonus zippers.

Parade units include these "envelopes" with rotating messages encouraging you to JUMP! and DANCE!.

The parade does feature a big group of Disney characters including some rare ones. It's great to see so many characters in a show like this.

Another great touch this parade has is the big balloon characters atop the four "small" floats.

The big balloon animals have clever balloon knots on in the back -- a nice little detail.

And even if the parade is loud and brash, the performers really give it their all. Celebrate's cast is fantastic, even given the lackluster show they have to work with. They give it their all, and their performances shine.

Celebrate! A Street Party currently runs twice daily at 3:30 pm and 6:30 pm.
The parade contains three main show stops: Small World Mall, Central Plaza (the hub), and Main Street U.S.A.

Across the way, construction continues at Disney's California Adventure.

According to the D23 website, Pacific Wharf Bridge is scheduled to reopen April 3. Hopefully this info was correct following last week's misinformation about Golden Dreams' final showing:

03.27.09 — Pacific Wharf Bridge Reopens
The Pacific Wharf Bridge in Disney's California Adventure opens again on April 3 after a planned refurbishment. The bridge connects the Pacific Wharf area with Golden State Plaza.

Work continues on the bridge before it reopens...

It looks like some of "Golden State Plaza" has some concrete once again.

But other parts still need new concrete...

Nearby, the new restrooms in the San Francisco Street facades are starting to show some progress at the far end towards Grizzly Peak.

A metal structure is being built onto the end of the building...

Progress continues in Paradise Bay as work on the major new World of Color nighttime show continues...

Mickey's Fun Wheel has most of its gondolas back. All that we need now is Mickey's smiling face.

And the remainder of what was Mickey's head on California Screamin' is being primed in white as it prepares to be painted blue and get a new lighted sunburst icon installed.

Work around the base of the Orange Stinger continues before it closes to be re-themed as the Silly Symphony Swings.

Back in Disneyland, a new sign has popped up near the entrance to the Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo entrance telling guests where to go for the new Celebration Roundup and the Festival Arena

The new Monorail Orange started making daylight test runs around the Resort last week.

Radio Disney set up shop in Small World Mall on Friday.

Cast Members handed out maps for "it's a small world" telling guests where to find all the new characters

And construction walls went up in Disneyland's Central Plaza (the hub) around the area where the popcorn cart is usually located.

And a couple of shots from around the park...

Disneyland Resort theme parks have increased operating hours as more schools break for spring recess. 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 - 11 pm
Friday - Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight

Disney's California Adventure Park
Monday - Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Friday - Sunday: 10 am - 9 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.
  • 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.

Disney rolled out the details to a new Buy 3 Nights, Get 2 More FREE offer for guests traveling to the Disneyland Resort this summer. The press release also included hints at new nighttime entertainment that will debut this summer.

'Get 2 More Nights Free' to Savor All the Exciting New Summer Entertainment At Disneyland Resort
With the new summer vacation packages, guests pay for three nights of hotel accommodations and three days of theme park admission, and then receive two more nights at the hotel and two more days of theme park admission. Together, the special deal provides guests five days and nights of Disneyland fun, for the price of three.

Bookings for this limited-time offer must be made between March 24 and August 11, 2009. The summer vacation package offer for two more nights free is valid at all three Disneyland Resort Hotels – Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, the Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa for arrivals between April 1 and September 26, 2009. Beginning May 1, the offer is also available at participating local Disneyland Resort Good Neighbor Hotels, providing guests with a wide range of hotel accommodations and prices to fit every budget. Guests at a Disneyland Resort Good Neighbor Hotel must also begin their travel by September 26.

New Entertainment and Experiences
In 2009, the Disneyland Resort is pulling out all the stops by asking guests, "What Will You Celebrate?" As part of the yearlong celebration, guests will enjoy many new magical experiences. "Celebrate! A Street Party" launches this spring at Disneyland Park. A cast of dancers, DJs and Disney characters invite guests to join the celebration as they take to the street for a high-energy street party featuring lively music, colorful costumes, confetti and streamers. Guests will join in twist dancing, a conga line and all the colorful fun of a celebration on Main Street, U.S.A., or at “it’s a small world” mall.

Meanwhile, because there’s so much in life worth celebrating, in April, Disneyland Park will also present the Celebration Roundup and Barbecue at Big Thunder Ranch, a good ol’ cowboy-style hoedown featuring food and fun for the whole family.

This summer the Happiest Place on Earth will be the Most Exciting Place on Earth! At Disneyland Park, Fantasmic! is bigger, brighter and bolder than ever before. And the skies above Sleeping Beauty Castle will come to life with a spectacular new fireworks show that will have guests celebrating across the Magic Kingdom. Over at Disney’s California Adventure Park, Tinker Bell works her pixie magic and brings a bright new sparkle to the guest-favorite and classic Disney’s Electrical Parade.

The OC Register's Around Disney blog broke the news that Yamabuki, the Paradise Pier Hotel's Japanese restaurant will be closing April 11.

39 Disney employees told restaurant will close
Disney officials announced Thursday afternoon that Yamabuki restaurant, inside the Paradise Pier Hotel will close down April 11.

Some 39 hourly employees who work at the restaurant were informed of the pending closure during a closed-door meeting around 4 p.m. Thursday.

Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown said the company will work to relocate the employees to other park restaurants. Those who cannot be placed elsewhere will receive at least 60 days pay as severance and an extension of some health care benefits.

A “handful” of salaried managers could either be relocated or lose their jobs, as well, Brown said.

“The concept of the restaurant no longer resonates with our guests,” Brown said. The closure was not related to other layoffs and staff re-organizations related to the sagging economy, she added.

“We continuously evaluate all of our concepts and listen to what our guests are telling us,” Brown said. ”We’ve scaled back the hours at this restaurant since the beginning of the year. Other restaurants at the Resort are doing quite well.”

The upscale restaurant at 1717 S. Disneyland Dr., originally opened in 1996 with a lunch and dinner menu. Meals averaged $20 to $30 per diner. The restaurant shortened its hours and discontinued its lunch menu within the last year.

Restaurant hours will remain as normal until the April 11 closure.

And while Disney has promised to try to relocate Yamabuki employees to other jobs around the Resort, the restaurant's staff is still unsure of their employment future -- One Cast Member told the Around Disney blog that the closure is going to "be very tough for everybody."
Former Yamabuki employee worries about her future
Kumiko Swearingen, 51, of Irvine is one of the 39 employees who — for now – won’t have a job after Disney closes the Yamabuki restaurant in the Paradise Pier Hotel.

“The main thing everyone is worrying about is medical benefits,” Swearingen said in a phone interview today. “How are you going to pay for rent and health insurance? One girl I talked to lives by herself — she doesn’t make that much money and she has her bills.

“It’s going to be very tough for everybody.”

And as Disney lays off employees and closes restaurants, they're betting on making the big bucks with the Grand Californian's new Disney's Vacation Club timeshare units.

'People still vacation' — Disney expects new timeshares to sell out fast
As hundreds of workers hang drywall, weld girders, pour concrete and install plumbing in the new wing of Disney’s Grand Californian, the sales staff are kicking off selling space in 50 timeshares.

The villas at the Grand, to be completed in the fall, will be the 10th location in Disney’s growing "Vacation Club" business.

Mike Brunson, the sales director for Disney Vacation Club on the West Coast, said he expects the timeshares to sell out fast, despite the spiraling economy.

"We’re actually finding we’re doing very, very well," he said. "In economic times like these, people still vacation. We’re actually growing year over year."

The vacation club is based on a points system. Consumers buy about 200 or 300 points at $112 a point – so a typical timeshare with the club costs an average of $30,000. The 200 to 300 points refresh every year.

Members use the points like Monopoly money to purchase nights in suites at any of the Disney resorts. For example, a studio – basically a hotel room with a kitchenette – sleeps up to four and costs as much as 227 points per week during the busiest season in spring and during the holidays. In the slowest seasons, a week in a studio is 129 points.

There are also one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom Grand Villa suites that get pricier – 160 points a night in the busiest season.

There are two “Grand Villa” suites under construction at Disneyland, with balconies overlooking Paradise Pier and what will be the “World of Color” light, water and pyrotechnic show each night.

Alright, that's it for this week's update. Thanks again to 2DieFR for his great photo contributions this week. And thanks to you for reading and extra thanks to those of you who were able to donate last week. Your contributions help keep the updates coming every week. Thanks so much for the support! Of course, we all know times are tough, so any amount of support helps. If you can donate to Dateline Disneyland please consider doing so via a safe and quick PayPal donation. To donate, click here.

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See you here again next week!
- Andy

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Updated 03-30-2009 at 01:39 PM by Dateline Disneyland (Added column banner.)



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  1. NathanScott86's Avatar
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    Great update, Andy! It's very unfortunate that the new "Celebrate!" par...erm, street party doesn't seem to be up to the standards. I'm not a parade person by any means (less people on the rides, I say), but I did really enjoy the PPP. I really like the character balloons atop the nwe floats though!
  2. cositaluvsmickey's Avatar
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    your reports are always worth reading. From the pictures, the "party" does not seem to peak my intrest.I could just imagine those MC's how annoying they can get after a couple of minutes of hearing them. Great Job
  3. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Thank you for another wonderful update Andy.

    Like you, I feel that the new "Street Party" is a total mess and not in keeping with the high quality standards and expectations of Disneyland. This felt like a DCA thing.

    Disneyland guests expect a parade and Disney should give them one. If they wanted to run "Celebrate" as well as a real parade, I wouldn't be complaining. But this crap-fest in place of a parade is NOT acceptable.

    Show Stops just don't work well when the park is crowded. Too many people and not enough room to pack them all into small viewing areas just doesn't work.

    The people who planned this street party were extremely misguided. It was HORRIBLE. Send the floats to DCA and bring back Parade of Dreams until the new parade is ready next year.
  4. filmfreak11's Avatar
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    Good job on reporting just the facts. With the exception of CASP. The commentary is just straight bashing but with "entertainment CMS still do a great job" to try and balance things out. Although the photos are really nice.
  5. Petchaurus's Avatar
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    As always I love the Monday update.

    The Celebrate! A Street Party was never touted as the Parade of Dreams II. It was simply what they said it would be, a celebration. I guess I don't understand where all of your disappointment is coming from. I am sure that the Parade of Dreams was costly to run, maintain, and perform so that is why the didn't bring it back. If we want to play glass half empty then they could have just left the streets empty until the next parade came along. Maybe that would have been better for some of you. I just don't understand the HATE!!!!

    I agree that Walt Disney always tried to do better but there comes a point where you can't get any bigger and you just have to re-invent the wheel. A transitional street party until the next parade doesn't bother me and I think Disney is still doing what it does best. Okay, glass half full again.....
  6. SouthHrbrBlvd's Avatar
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    parade = yuck.

    Monorail Orange is awesome!

    Great update; thanks again!
  7. pussnboots's Avatar
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    Cute Peter Pan (with that gay-man's-vain-no-gums-smile). Say what you want about Disneyland, but the performers still look and act the part much better than anywhere else.

    As for the parade... It looks unfortunate, but temporary.
  8. MonstersGoBoo!'s Avatar
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    Thanks for the update!
  9. DisneyFunGuy's Avatar
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    Contrary to Andy's constant reference, CELEBRATE...A Street Party, is NOT a parade!! Again, it's not a parade, it's a street show, just like the name implies! Why Andy keeps referring to it as a parade is beyond me.

    And this new street show fits just nicely at Disneyland. And for those who can remember, this type of show has been done before several times in the past, including the Main Street Hop!

    Personally, I was not a fan of POD and find this new street show a total breath of fresh air. It's fun, colorful, up-beat, loud, and energizing! It's exactly what Disneyland needed. The parades in the past 10 years (POTS and POD) have become too dull and boring.

    Congratulations to Disneyland for finally bringing back entertainment worth seeing! And the entire cast of dancers do an amazing job...KUDOS to them!!
  10. JiminyCricketFan's Avatar
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    Is it just me, but that picture of the Grand Californian DVC looks VERY boring. From that picture, I certainly would not be enticed to stay there.
  11. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great Update!
  12. TravisMT81's Avatar
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    I am so happy to see Clarice, that is the one bright spot in the parade for me. Anymore pictures of her?

    Also does Peter have veneers or what LOL
  13. pussnboots's Avatar
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    Yes, DisneyFunGuy, this sort of thing has been done before... But that was when it was actually contemporary. To see it now is like seeing someone emerge from a mid-life crisis wearing a sequined ensemble they salvaged from the '80s.
  14. wdwnut4life's Avatar
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    fab update. disneyland forever!!!
  15. Diznee55's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update, I was at the park on Friday and saw big crowds for the street party, hopefully it will continue. I'm not sure how I feel about Disney passing out maps at small world. My kids enjoyed the hunt, but that's all they were doing, and it became the main attraction on the ride
  16. disneymademoiselle's Avatar
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    As usual, you take such incredible pictures around the resort, Andy!

    I won't pass judgement on the Street Party until I see it in person, but I would agree that it is certainly not up to the standards or caliber that is expected of Disneyland. This just screams DCA! I do really love the "cuties" balloons and great variety of Disney characters
  17. brenden's Avatar
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    Well, I thought Celebrate wasn't that bad. It's kind of unfortunate to hear it bashed by the masses. I guess I can't blame everyone for holding it up to such a high standard since we were spoiled by great shows like POD and RDCT, but there's no reason to hate on it so much!

    Just let go of your judgements and enjoy the show. If you don't like it, nobody is forcing you to sit and watch it every time you go. By the looks of all the kids and parents on Sunday, everyone was having a good time - it was engaging and interactive and fun! POD was beautiful, but seemed more like an exhibition on wheels. Disney's got a nice daytime entertainment event to coincide with their latest promotion and everyone I saw didn't care!
  18. Diznee55's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update, I was at the park on Friday and saw big crowds for the street party, hopefully it will continue. I'm not sure how I feel about Disney passing out maps at small world. My kids enjoyed the hunt, but that's all they were doing, and it became the main attraction on the ride
  19. vfire's Avatar
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    As a parade or street show or whatever you want to call it... IT simply sucks. Its suckage is beyond my already low expectations of what it would be. It reeks of cheapness with industrial castoff floats picked up from a dumpster. The outfits are horrendous looking. The music is as bad as a tasteless wedding party reception. Get this craptacular joke out of the park, save the money, and have the streets clear for guests.
  20. Rixter's Avatar
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    Since I haven't seen it yet (just missed it by a few minutes yesterday), I am trying to reserve judgement on the "street party". I do believe that Andy's comments reflect a thoughtful analysis and shouldn't be construed as bashing by any means.

    Thanks for another great report. It's always a bright spot in my Mondays.
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