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Food & Wine Festival, Tomorrowland refurbs, DCA work, Summer Nightastic!, +MUCH MORE!

Rating: 3 votes, 4.00 average.
by , 04-27-2009 at 01:24 AM
With the start of the 2009 Disney's California Food and Wine Festival, on-going construction at DCA, refurbishments in Tomorrowland, and the announcement of Disneyland's Summer Nightastic! promotion, there's a lot to get to this week!

As always, you can click on any of the Project Tracker image to be taken to the Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure tracker on MiceChat where you can get the latest news and discussion on the construction projects going on around the Resort.

It's a BIG update this week, so let's dig in!

Disneyland had a big press event on Friday announcing the lineup of new and enhanced summer entertainment that will debut at Disneyland on June 12. The new entertainment, most of it not new at all but merely plussed, is being packaged as Summer Nightastic!, which runs from June 12 through August 23.

The official Disneyland press release has all the details:

ANAHEIM, Calif., April 24 – Disneyland Resort will glow like never before this summer as it debuts an all-new fireworks show, Magical, along with sensational new characters and effects that will brighten the Summer Nightastic! lineup of after-dark entertainment.

WHAT: Guests can see Disneyland Resort in a whole new light as Summer Nightastic! brings nighttime shows and parades to life – bigger, better and brighter. A huge new dragon and other special effects will highlight Fantasmic! Explosive surprises will illuminate the night sky in the all-new fireworks spectacular, Magical. Guests can rock the night away at a new dance club in Tomorrowland. Sparkling new magic comes to “Disney’s Electrical Parade,” as well as to Pixie Hollow, the enchanting home Tinker Bell inhabits with her fairy friends.

WHEN: Nightly, beginning Friday, June 12, and continuing through Sunday, August 23, at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure parks. All shows and immersive experiences are free with park admission.

A BOLDER FANTASMIC!: Guests will find new thrills at the popular Fantasmic! on the Rivers of America in Frontierland. The evil Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty” transforms into a 40-foot tall, fire-breathing dragon. Ursula the Sea Witch from “The Little Mermaid” introduces her pet eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, who slither into the show with new power. In addition, the Fantasmic! video projections practically leap off the giant mist screens, thanks to HD (high-definition) technology … (in this case, HD takes on a new meaning - Huge Dragon).

Disney Entertainment's Stephen Davison describes the new "Magical" fireworks show in a media presentation

AN EXPLODING CELEBRATION IN THE SKY: Magical is a new Disney fireworks spectacular created especially to celebrate Summer Nightastic! at Disneyland. Tinker Bell is once again your host, waving her wand to ignite the brilliant color, stunning special effects and charming music. But she won’t be alone in the sky this summer. Dumbo will make his surprise airborne debut in the new show. Tink’s sparkling touch awakens a fantastic array of Disney’s most magical characters, from Pinocchio to Mary Poppins to Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, and the Three Good Fairies from “Sleeping Beauty.”

NEW FLOATS BRING NEW MAGIC TO ‘DISNEY’S ELECTRICAL PARADE’: Everything about “Disney’s Electrical Parade” will have a new glow as Tinker Bell leads the way, waving from the basket of a magical balloon aboard a new opening parade float. The parade’s beloved music and floats will feature electrifying audio and lighting technologies, with sparkling pixie dust added to all the parade floats. Snow White and Pinocchio return to the parade this summer as well, after several years’ absence, riding bright new versions of their classic floats.

AN EXCITING NEW DANCE CLUB ‘IGNITES THE NIGHT’ IN TOMORROWLAND: Tweens, teens and families will be drawn to the TLT Dance Club at Tomorrowland Terrace in Disneyland. Dazzling décor will include an illuminated DJ console where the TLT Dance Club DJ will spin the hottest dance tunes, guaranteed to keep Tomorrowland rockin’ all night. Live bands and the hottest Southern California radio stations will appear on select nights throughout the summer.

Work continues on Pixie Hollow's queue and pond

PIXIE HOLLOW ENCHANTMENT: Tinker Bell and her friends have been welcoming guests into their Pixie Hollow home, tucked into the glen near the entrance to Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, since fall of 2008. This summer, for the first time, nighttime visitors will find magical surprises as Pixie Hollow and the nearby pond come to life in iridescent light shows. Pixie dust cascades across the landscape and radiates down into the pond. Even the water becomes enchanted as playful fountains spring to life, pop jets perform with whimsical precision, and sparkling strobes shine throughout Pixie Hollow.

For additional details and information on Disneyland's Summer Nightastic! visit these links:

Tomorrowland got two new sets of construction walls last week as the Astro Orbiter went behind walls for a major refurbishment.

If you've been hoping that the Astro Orbitor would spin into Yesterland, don't get your hopes up yet. It may look like its being dismantled for removal, but it is currently aiming to reopen by June 12.

Wouldn't it be nice to get rid of this thing though? The bottleneck it and the rocks create is one of Disneyland's biggest problems.

Down in the heart of Tomorrowland, walls are up around the Cosmic Waves water play area.

While the jumping water fountains haven't been turned on in years, the big wet marble still remains.

From the looks of it, the marble will continue to remain even after this refurbishment, but the old rusty waterworks from the Cosmic Waves fountains have been completely removed now.

Over at Disney's California Adventure, Disney's California Food and Wine Festival has returned for a six-week run this year. Festival guides are available almost anywhere you see a festival event taking place.

The festival's main demonstration kitchen has been moved to Sunshine Plaza this year after construction at the Lucky Fortune Cookery evicted the Pacific Wharf demonstration kitchen.

Here, celebrity chefs like Food Network's Robert Irvine give culinary demonstrations...

...and Resort chefs from theme park, hotel, and Downtown Disney restaurants teach classes on how to prepare tasty dishes.

An event emcee is on hand to help with audience questions and to make sure chefs are explaining what, exactly, they're doing.

The Festival Welcome Center is located next to DCA's Information kiosk this year.

Computers are available to purchase Signature Event tickets.

Down the parade route, near the entrance to the Golden Vine Winery area, a nice photo op promoting ABC's Brothers and Sisters is set up with a PhotoPass CM nearby.

Fans of the show will notice the "Walker Landing Winery" and "Ojai Foods" logos

Some nice synergy here.

Across the way in the Bountiful Valley Farm area, the Farm's culinary demonstration kitchen is only a small Jr. Chef kitchen this year.

Nearby, one of two of this year's new $10 Wine Walks is available to wine connoisseurs

The other wine walk is located next to Sam Andreas Shakes, across from the Mission Tortilla Factory and Boudin Bread Tour:

Also new this year is a Beer Walk which is located in the outdoor eating area directly next to the Lucky Fortune Cookery on Pacific Wharf.

Back in the Golden Vine Winery area of the park, Disney has reopened The Lounge (formerly the Vineyard Room restaurant). Wine and tapas are available here.

The Golden Vine Winery area also offers wine tasting and special-ticket wine seminars. Another Borthers and Sisters display is also present.

And one of two Festival merchandise locations is also located here, the other is near the Chef's Showcase demonstration tent in Sunshine Plaza.

Wine and Cheese tote: $52

Wine glass: $12

Apron: $28

Decal closeup:

Women's tee: $29

Men's shirt: $65


Hat: $24

Art print: $35

Limited edition pin

Open edition pin: $14.95

Even with the big Food and Wine Festival going on, construction hasn't slowed around the park.

Scaffolding around Mickey's Fun Wheel has been taken down as the project gets closer to its May 8th open date.

The colorful character-adorned gondolas await guests...

Work is now focused on the queue, which seems to have gotten the short end of the stick on this remodel. The same cheap and un-themed yellow canvas covers from the Sun Wheel have been stretched back up above the queue.

What's unfortunate is that this project has resulted in essentially zero progress from its impossibly uninspired predecessor. While the Games of the Boardwalk got shiny new, Victorian-themed facades and new character-themed sets inside, the Fun Wheel just got the characters and some new paint. What kind of remodel is that?

The queue is as unthemed and uninviting as ever. A barren cement pit that neither evokes idealized Victorian seaside fun or Disney quality, covered by yellow canvas that actually does little to protect guests from the hot summer sun.

The red paint on the handrails is not enough.

While the Fun Wheel project wraps up and amounts to nothing more but lipstick on a pig, the World of Color show continues construction in Paradise Bay, determined not to be a failure.

The beginnings of the Silly Symphony Swings' covered boardwalk queue is progressing nicely beneath the Orange Stinger. The Orange Stinger should close at the end of this summer to begin its transformation into the Silly Symphony Swings.

The tacky Route 66 area of Paradise Pier will start going behind walls at the end of May, starting with Dinosaur Jack's Sunglass Shack which will close forever on May 26.

Disney apparently thinks enough people will miss this first-pink-now-green beacon of tackiness and has positioned a PhotoPass CM in front of the store for last-chance photos with it.

Last chance!

Even though the big green dino-store is pretty schlocky, the inside of the store is decently themed.

Road signs extend from display cases

Old photos of Californians in sunglasses hang from the ceiling and oversized vintage city ads decorate the walls

Next door, Corn Dog Castle will be closing for retheming (don't worry, you will still be able to get your hot link corn dogs!) on June 1.

And a few steps away, the exceedingly un-charming Souvenir 66 will close for retheming with Corn Dog Castle on June 1. The shop will get decked out in Paradise Pier-appropriate Victorian theming and reopen as Seaside Souvenirs.

Bye-bye neon, see ya stucco!

Further on, the new San Francisco Street restrooms next to the closed Golden Dreams theater are progressing nicely.

Back in Disneyland, construction walls have gone up around the sides of the Le Petit Chalet store in Fantasyland.

And more walls are up nearby in front of the Fantasia Gardens smoking area (the smoking area is still open, though).

And over in Frontierland, walls have gone up around part of Zocalo Park.

And some new t-shirts have been rolled out at specialty stores like the Fortuosity Shop on Main Street.

Another 40th Anniversary Haunted Mansion offering based on an alternate Haunted Mansion poster concept

These Oswald the Lucky Rabbit shirts are cool, but at $45 are a bit overpriced.


THEME PARK HOURS 4/27 - 5/03
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 - Sunday: 8 am - 12 midnight

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

Disneyland Park
  • Remember... Dreams Come True Fireworks Spectacular: Performances nightly through spring season. Show is expected to end permanently following the 2009 peak spring season. A new show will replace Remember this summer.
  • Astro Oribtor: Closed through June 12.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Closed April 27 - 30.
  • Peter Pan's Flight: Closed May 4 - June 7.
  • Hungry Bear Restaurant: Closed May 4 - 15.
  • Sailing Ship Columbia: Closed May 18 - 20.
  • Snow White's Scary Adventures: Closed June 8 through July 3
  • Fantasmic! Returns June 12
  • Magical - A Fireworks Spectacular: Debuts June 12
  • Pixie Hollow queue and pond: Opens with enhancements June 12
  • 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
  • Mickey's Fun Wheel: Closed for remodeling. Re-opens May 8, 2009.
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: Closed May 18 - 22.
  • King Triton's Carousel: Closed through May 21.
  • The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Adventure: Golden Dreams theater scheduled for demolition and new attraction construction scheduled to begin in May 2009.
  • Dinosaur Jack's Sunglass Shack: Closes forever May 26.
  • Souvenir 66 and Corn Dog Castle: Store and dining location closed for remodeling June 1, 2009 through June 2011, reopen date likely to change.
  • 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.

On Friday, Disney Legend and Imagineer Marty Sklar announced his retirement from the Walt Disney Company, ending his over 50-year career. Sklar was heavily criticized last year by Disney fans after he sent out an open letter to fans both denying and defending the changes to "it's a small world." Yet, despite such last impressions, Sklar has been an important and valuable asset to Walt Disney Imagineering and has been present at every Disney theme park opening since Disneyland in 1955. Sklar sent out a letter to his colleagues in Glendale on April 24, which was posted online by Orlando Attractions Magazine. Below is an excerpt:

I’ve always thought that the two most important dates in Disney’s parks and resorts occurred in July and October. It was on July 17, 1955 that Walt realized his “dream come true” with the dedication of Disneyland. October 1, 1971 and October 1, 1982 marked the official opening days for the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom and for Epcot (then “Epcot Center”).

There’s an extra relevance for me: I was a working Disney cast member for all three of these openings…and for the eight that have followed. From Tokyo to Paris, Orlando to Anaheim, and finally (so far!) Hong Kong, I’ve sweated the final details of construction, installation and show “buy-offs” leading to the openings of all eleven Disney parks around the world. It is with considerable pride that I can say, “I’m the only Disney cast member who has participated in all eleven of those openings.”

I’m anxious to join my fellow Imagineers at the next grand opening, too. But for me, the thrill of watching those gates open and the first guests eagerly racing to the attractions that are already their favorites, will be different next time. Because I’ll be cheering you all on from the sidelines, as a retired Imagineer.

I have decided to turn in my name tag on one of those prime dates: July 17. In 2009, that date will mark Disneyland’s 54th birthday, and my 53rd year as a Disney cast member. (I returned to UCLA after Disneyland’s first summer to finish my senior year, then returned to Disneyland’s public relations department in September 1956.)

You can read the complete letter at website: Attractions Magazine: Disney Legend Marty Sklar’s Letter to Imagineers Announcing His Retirement After 53 Years

And you can join an on-going discussion of the news on MiceChat here: MiceChat: Marty Sklar, former head of Imagineering, announces retirement

D23's "Twilight Bark" news section announced last week that Disney Legends and Imagineers Rolly Crump and Don Edgren would recieve windows on April 29:

04.24.09 — Disney Legends to Receive Disneyland Windows
On April 29, for the first time in history, two people will receive a window on Main Street, U.S.A. on the same day. The windows will honor Disney Legends and former Walt Disney Imagineers Rolly Crump and the late Don Edgren. Look for Rolly and Don's names over the porch of the old bra shop and above the Silhouette Studio.

The 2fer ticket offer ends June 3, but Disneyland has announced the return of the 3-Day Fun Pass for Southern California residents for only $99. An on-going discussion of the new ticket offer can be found on the MiceChat boards: Southern Califorinian Residents get 3-Day Summer Fun Pass for $9

Disneyland Resort Unveils Incredible Value for Southern California Residents: 3-day Summer Fun Pass for $99
ANAHEIM, Calif., April 24 — Just in time for summer, the Disneyland Resort announces a valuable ticket offer – the 3-Day Summer Fun Pass, available exclusively for residents of Southern California and Northern Baja.

With this special ticket, local residents can play at the Disneyland Resort for three days within a 45-day period, for just $99. Guests who live in zip codes 90000 through 93599, and 21000-22999, will be able to enter both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, enjoying three days of fun for only $33 per day.

The 3-day Summer Fun Pass is available for sale at, Disney Stores and at the Disneyland Resort box office. Resident ID is required. To skip ticket lines and enjoy straight-to-the-gate convenience, the 3-Day Summer Fun Pass is also sold at local supermarket and retail chains such as Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs, Stater Bros., Food 4 Less, Gelsons, Dearden’s and Toys ‘R’ Us.

Since the first use of the pass must be between June 1 and August 23, 2009, it’s just the ticket for local residents to see Disneyland Resort in a whole new light during SUMMER NIGHTASTIC! Nighttime shows and parades come to life – bigger, better and brighter in this special summer event. Spectacular, state-of-the-art effects, plus an all-new fireworks show highlight the sparkling summer entertainment that runs June 12 through August 23.

Due to a legal issue, some northern California residents got their Annual Passes at a big discount after Disney had to cancel all future payments, but let them keep their passes. The OC Register's Around Disney blog has details:

Non-Southern Californians not eligible for Disney Pass payment plan
Several months ago, Disney announced that guests could buy a year-long pass to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure with monthly payments.

Because of some errors in selling the passes, however, Disney is backpedaling on the deal for some northern California pass holders — they’ll be able to use their passes through the dates printed on the pass, but the payments have been halted — effectively a discount.
Turns out, there’s a line in the contract that limits the payment plan deal to park-goers living within Southern California area codes.

Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown said the mistake was “human error” that caused park employees to sign up “a handful” of out-of-towners who weren’t eligible for the deal.

Alright, that should wrap up this week's big update. Thanks of course for reading, and be sure to discuss this week's update in the comments section below.

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See you here again next week!
- Andy

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  1. RLS Legacy's Avatar
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    The California Adventure retheming was intended to change the park from California-themed rides to Disney-themed rides. Marketing surveys indicated guests prefer Disney theming, and many of the CA changes promise to be a cost-effective way to meet guest expectations. Andy's assertion that the Mickey's Fun Wheel conversion "amounts to nothing more than lipstick on a pig" is correct, but it was never supposed to be anything more.

    Also true:
    "The bottleneck (the Astro Orbiter) and the rocks create is one of Disneyland's biggest problems."
    "...the old rusty waterworks from the Cosmic Waves fountains have been completely removed now."
    "Disney apparently thinks enough people will miss this first-pink-now-green beacon of tackiness..."

    This week's Dateline Disneyland offers a serious contender to Kevin Yee's title as MiceAge's curmudgeon-in-residence. Lighten up!
  2. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great update!
  3. Fishbulb's Avatar
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    Great stuff Andy!
  4. Cadensmama07's Avatar
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    Great Update! Thank you so much Andy for posting this. Im going to DIsneyalnd on Monday and needed this update! Thank you so much! Keep up the GREAT WORK!
  5. vfire's Avatar
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    Great update and on-the-mark comments as always. Thanks for all the photos of the construction walls in small nooks around DL.
  6. filmfreak11's Avatar
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    Thumbs down on the Fun Wheel rant. There were talks about that budget being used elsewhere like Radiator Springs Racers. The same apparent cut that was given to the CARS restaurant. In a future construction phase, the budget may be approved to bring those concepts to life. Whether that be true or not, I think is still worth mentioning moreso than "I HATE THIS STUPID PAINT JOB" nonsense.

    The rant about the Route 66 area is fine because it was just limited to about one word or so.

    Yeah... another "good" example of "just reporting the facts".

    PS- I'm not even sure why the money was spent to make that last chance Sunglass Shack Photo-op sign. Maybe Photopass actually got enough guests in the past to get a family photo of that or just getting guests aware that changes are coming as opposed to signs on a construction wall.

    Maybe those Oswald shirts were given the wrong price??
  7. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Excellent update Andy. I appreciate your opinion on Mickey's Fun Wheel and 100% agree. With all due respect to RLS Legacy above, you hit the nail on the head! Disney cut the budget for this project and scrapped the much needed queue redesign. On one side of the street, we'll have detailed Victorian theme and on the other the crappy concrete pit with ugly bright yellow tarp. Yet another great idea ruined by budget cuts.

    That doesn't make you a curmudgeon, it makes you a leading resource for measured opinion on the Disneyland Resort. I think you are nearly always right on the money with your perspective!

    Thank you!!!
  8. sir clinksalot's Avatar
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    I agree about the queue, I however think the wheel itself looks great, even though there is nothing new about it but re-painted wheel and gondolas and a mickey face instead of the sun.

    A re-vamped queue would have set the tone and it's sad that it's just the same-old-thing there.
  9. Baloo's Avatar
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    nice update,

    One interesting thing about the Dino believe it or not it is one of the most photographed locations in the resort along with other prime locations in both parks. The resort will loose three of those locations during the remodel

    1) the Mickey head on the coaster
    2) The "CALIFORNIA" letters
    3) and Dino

    those three will be removed or have been removed. The letters actually rank up there close to the Mickey floral in most photographed photo location. Why? not sure but my guess is that the letters are common enough to be in People names
  10. Skippy's Avatar
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    So is it safe to say that the wave machine in Paradise Bay has moved on to DCA Yesterland?

    They hardly ever had it on anyway and I can't imagine they'd have it running with all that fancy World of Color stuff installed in there now.
  11. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    Thanks for your update.
  12. Oswald56's Avatar
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    Awesome update! I live for these updates on Monday to get me through the week.
    Oswald rules but... not at $45!!!
  13. cositaluvsmickey's Avatar
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    Thanks for another great update
  14. b236en's Avatar
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    cool beans....
  15. okerry's Avatar
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    Well, no - it would not be great to get rid of the Astro Orbiter, AFAIAC! Move it, sure, because it is indeed a bottleneck - but it's also one of those rides that parents (or grandparents, in my case) can ride with young children. My 5 yo granddaughter just loves the AO and I love riding it with her.
  16. sassy*tink's Avatar
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    Great update!!! Sadly, this summer's trip is to WDW so I won't be able to see all the summer stuff! Boo!! But it all sounds great and I'm sure there will be pictures and video to follow.
    I think Mickey's Fun Wheel looks great! I was really usure at first, but it look amazing! I agree that the queue doesn't quite fit, but what else could they have done with the limited space? Any ideas?
  17. Skawt's Avatar
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    Please tone-down the negative comments and let people judge for themselves. It is one thing if you are posting a thread on micechat and have an opinion but I look forward to miceage articles and updates to see what is happening and can draw my own conclusions on what I like/don't like.
  18. DonDuck's Avatar
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    Awesome update info and pics!
  19. Chernabog's Avatar
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    Pfft all of the articles on MiceAge have an opinion. If you want to just see what is happening and draw your own conclusions when you visit the park -- then read a Disney Press Release or

    While I agree that the Ferris Wheel re-do is putting lipstick on a pig, it's some mighty adorable lipstick that will serve as a great backdrop to the World of Color show. Just aesthetically it is much improved from what was there before. I mean, what are 90% of all disney rides but re-purposed (or re-themed) carny attractions?
  20. themur's Avatar
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    Great update as usual but I was surprised you missed one of the biggest things from the weekend - Workers scrubbed the two sections of Space Mountain that were so dirty. There were guys out on ropes on Saturday with buckets and brushes. Big improvement.

    Having been to the park for the first time to see the Fun Wheel, I have to disagree with the entire rant. The wheel looks great. I too wish that they had done the queue but the new color and old-school Mickey face do help to change the tone of the area and it is a big improvement.
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