Celebrate! A Street Party, DCA construction, Monorail Orange, +MORE
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?
WELCOME TO DISNEYLAND!
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.
For more coverage of Disneyland's new parade, check out these links:
- MiceChat Weekend Update 3/28: First shots of Disneyland's Celebrate! A Street Party
- MiceChat In The Parks 3/28: Celebrate! Parade Special
- OC Register 3/27: Disneyland guests play starring role in 'Celebrate!' parade
- LA Times 3/24: Disneyland's new 'Celebrate!': A sneak peek at 'street show' debuting Friday
Across the way, construction continues at Disney's California Adventure.
PACIFIC WHARF BRIDGE
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...
SAN FRANCISCO STREET RESTROOMS
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...
WORLD OF COLOR AND VIEWING AREA
Progress continues in Paradise Bay as work on the major new World of Color nighttime show continues...
FUN WHEEL & CALIFORNIA SCREAMIN'
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.
THIS & THAT
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.
AROUND THE PARK
And a couple of shots from around the park...
DISNEYLAND WEEKLY HOURS AND INFOTHEME PARK HOURS 3/30 - 4/5
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 Disneyland.com Theme Park CalendarDisneyland 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
CURRENT ATTRACTION CLOSURES & REFURBISHMENTSDisneyland 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.
BUY 3 NIGHTS, GET TWO MORE FREE OFFER PLUS NEW ENTERTAINMENT
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 ResortWith 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.
YAMABUKI RESTAURANT TO CLOSE APRIL 11
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 closeDisney 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 futureKumiko 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.”
DESPITE ECONOMY, DISNEY EXPECTS TIMESHARES TO SELL OUT
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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