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Mickey's Fun Wheel opens, Up pre-parade, DCA construction, Tomorrowland refurbs,+MORE

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by , 05-11-2009 at 12:24 AM
Mickey's Fun Wheel opened early last week and we've got photos of California Adventure construction from the top of the Wheel. Also, we've got a look at the fancy new LED lighting on Mickey's Fun Wheel. We'll also update you on the re-opened Pixie Hollow pond and queue area, which got new lighting installed which will debut as part of Disneyland's Summer Nightastic! on June 12. Meanwhile, the Astro Orbiter is starting to come back together, a few pieces at a time, and work on the old Cosmic Waves fountain area in Tomorrowland continues. And finally, we'll look at the new drinking fountains in Zocalo Park in Frontierland, and the new "Up" pre-parade in Disney's California Adventure.

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.

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

First up this week, the Pixie Hollow pond and queue is out from behind construction walls. Thanks to MiceChatter Matt "2DieFR" Gottula for these Pixie Hollow photos.

The new LED lighting in the pond and area trees will create a pixie dust effect throughout the area beginning June 12 when the Summer Nightastic! promotion begins.

D23 describes the new lighting effects as part of the new Pixie Hollow Enchantment:
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, water jets perform with whimsical precision, and sparkling strobes shine throughout Pixie Hollow.

The Astro Orbiter is slowly starting to come back together.

So far, it looks like we have the same colors as before...

Further inside Tomorrowland, work on the Cosmic Waves fountain area presses on...

And the replacing of the damaged Monorail awning next to the Tomorrowland Terrace continues.

Construction in California Adventure's (DCA) Paradise Bay continues.


Mickey's Fun Wheel opened last week. MiceAge columnist David "Darkbeer" Michael had a first look at Mickey's Fun Wheel on his special May 5 update.

Aside from the new Mickey face, a new paint scheme and new Fab 5 decals on the gondolas, not much has changed at the former Sun Wheel. The experience is, as expected, still the same. A new recorded safety spiel is delivered in an interesting German accent, reportedly that of Gustav Tinkerschmidt, the new Proprietor of the Games of the Boardwalk across the way. But the foriegn man's voice is never explained, which is a little odd when you're in line at Mickey's Fun Wheel on what is supposed to be a seaside pier in Southern California.

Nevertheless, the ferris wheel still provides breathtaking views of the Disneyland Resort, and offers excellent bird's-eye-views of the construction below in Paradise Bay.

The new extension being added to Golden State Park is coming along...

A large new fountain appears to be under construction in the location of DCA's former Christmas Tree Point.

Work on the new World of Color platform seems to get busier every week.

The outside of the new control tower built underneath the main Paradise Pier entry bridge is coming together nicely.

The lighting package for the Sun Wheel (formerly located on top of the Golden Dreams Theater) has been move to to top of the San Francisco Street buildings.

The new entrance at the new San Francisco Street restrooms is finishing up nicely.

The new LED lighting on Mickey's Fun Wheel debuted with the opening of the attraction. With the park closing early on weekdays last week, park guests got the first in-park views of the new lighting patterns this weekend.

And a new spotlight has been installed on top of the Toy Story Midway Mania! building to light up the California Screamin' sunburst:

The new pre-parade float for Disney-Pixar's Up is now preceding the Pixar Play Parade in Disney's California Adventure.

The characters very closely resemble their film counterparts. Great job.

Back in Disneyland, a peek behind the construction walls in Frontierland's Zocalo Park reveal new drinking fountains nearing completion.

And Peter Pan's Flight in Fantasyland is closed for refurbishment until early June.

And finally, the restrooms on the side of the Bank of Main Street are closed.

A sign calls them "The Lincoln Theater Restrooms." Speaking of Lincoln Theater, the opening of the revamped "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" show has been pushed back to December 17, adding on over two months from its previous September 26 open date.

A couple shots from around the park will round out this week's photo section.

THEME PARK HOURS 5/11 - 5/17
For a complete listing of theme park hours, please visit the Theme Park Calendar
Disneyland Park
Monday - Thursday: 9 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 - Sunday: 10 am - 10 pm

Disneyland Park
  • Astro Oribtor: Closed through June 12.
  • Peter Pan's Flight: Closed through June 7.
  • Hungry Bear Restaurant: Closed through 15.
  • Sailing Ship Columbia: Closed May 18 - 20.
  • Snow White's Scary Adventures: Closed June 8 through July 3
  • Fantasmic! Returns June 12
  • Remember... Dreams Come True - A Fireworks Spectacular: Final performance June 9, 2009. Returns fall 2009.
  • Magical - A Fireworks Spectacular: Debuts June 11, 2009.
  • 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 December 17, 2009.

Disney's California Adventure Park
  • 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.

It was announced internally at Walt Disney Imagineering on Saturday that Imagineering Executive Vice President of Master Planning and Development, Wing Chao would leave Disney effective June 30. The Disney and More blog had details of the news:

Wing Chao, WDI Executive Vice President will be retiring from WDI on June 30
After Marty Sklar, another WDI long time Imagineer, Wing Chao, Executive Vice President, Master Planning, Architecture and Design, will be retiring from Walt Disney Imagineering on June 30.

As you may not know Wing Chao as well as Marty Sklar, here is a little resumé of what he's been working on during his WDI career: "Working with Imagineers and world-renowned architects and designers, Wing oversaw the designs and master plans of Disney resorts, Disney Vacation Clubs, Downtown Disney entertainment centers, restaurants, retail venues, and office buildings in California, Florida, Tokyo, Paris, and Hong Kong. He also oversaw the master planning for the town development of Celebration in Florida and Val d’ Europe at Disneyland Paris Resort.

Wing led the design direction of the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line’s two ships, as well as the two new ships under construction. He was part of the teams that negotiated with the French government to build the Disneyland Paris Resort and the Hong Kong government for Hong Kong Disneyland."

For his design excellence, Wing has received many awards and accolades including the American Institute of Architects Outstanding Achievement Award.

Disney Editions will release a follow-up to the ever-popular Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind-the-Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real will hit book shelves November 3, but has the hardcover book available for pre-sale for $37.80 (retail: $60).

Amazon lists Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real with the following information:

How can you make dreams come true? Or transform a fantasy into a colorful, exciting world that visitors can move through, touch, and enjoy? Such fabulous work is the daily business of Walt Disney's Imagineers, a core group of creative and highly skilled professional wizards who combine imagination with engineering to create the reality of dreams that are the Disney theme parks.

In this sequel to the bestselling Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real, the Imagineers serve up another dose of magic with an even closer look at who they are, what they do, and how they do it, illuminating their theories and explaining what tools they use, and where and how they use them. Contained within this deluxe tome are rough drawings, conceptual models, and behind-the-scenes stories showcasing Disney's newest attractions and innovations from the inside out. There's also an exclusive peek into the Research and Development Lab to see what new magic will soon be appearing.

The Imagineers will tell their own stories, as well-how they got there, what they do on a daily basis, what they show their friends in the parks, and how you can learn what it takes to become an Imagineer.

Presented in a large, lavish format, this book is sure to be a must-have for every Disney collector.

If you don't already own the first volume, you can get it in paperback on Amazon for only $19.77 by clicking on the link below. It's a great read, full of great concept art and photos. And you can pre-order the second volume below as well (cover art has not been released yet).

The Walt Disney Company released its second quarter earnings report last week via an audio webcast. Since we focus on Disneyland here, we'll look at the theme parks and resorts segment of the company, which saw revenue drop 12% domestically, and operating income dropped 50%, as a result of lower guest spending due to lower average ticket prices, reduced merchandise spending, and cheaper hotel rooms. From the press release:

Parks and Resorts
Parks and Resorts revenues for the quarter decreased 12% to $2.4 billion and segment operating income decreased 50% to $171 million. Lower operating income was due to decreases at the Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Vacation Club, Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Resort Paris. Operating income comparisons were unfavorably impacted by the shift of the Easter holiday from the second quarter in fiscal 2008 to the third quarter in fiscal 2009.

Domestic Operations
Lower operating income at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort was primarily due to decreased guest spending, partially offset by lower costs. Decreased guest spending at the Walt Disney World Resort was due to lower average daily hotel room rates, lower average ticket prices and decreased merchandise spending. At Disneyland Resort, decreased guest spending was primarily due to lower average ticket prices and decreased merchandise spending. Lower costs reflected savings from cost mitigation activities and lower cost of merchandise, food and beverages sold, partially offset by labor and other cost inflation. Lower operating income at Disney Vacation Club reflected unfavorable impacts associated with securitized ownership interests, higher per unit cost of sales, decreased sales of term extensions on certain existing properties and lower rentals of vacation club units.

International Operations
At Disneyland Resort Paris, lower operating income was primarily due to decreased guest spending and attendance. The decrease in guest spending reflected lower average ticket prices, lower average daily hotel room rates and decreased merchandise spending.

For the full second quarter earnings release, click here (PDF file). Or, you can listen to a replay of the audio webcast with Disney CEO Bob Iger online until May 19 by clicking here.

The OC Register's Around Disney blog had a story last week about the new Disneyland Resort Central Bakery and its numerous enviro-friendly features.

Disney bakery produces treats with less environmental impact
Do you remember how you felt around 2 p.m. Easter Sunday when you were 10?
That’s kind of how you’d feel after touring Disneyland’s new central bakery off of Ball Road in Anaheim with the park’s executive pastry chef, Jean-Marc Viallet.

Viallet, intensely proud of the new facility opened in March, will stuff you full of Mickey Mouse cookies, molten chocolate cake, cheese cakes, fresh-baked bread and a myriad of other sweets.

Disney processes hundreds of pounds of sugar, flour, chocolate, dairy products and fruit every day to distribute almost 9 million pastries and baked goods per year throughout Disneyland and the resort area, Viallet said.

And that huge, tasty effort just got a little more environmentally friendly.

David Lopez, the project manager who oversaw construction of the new central bakery, said that the building has many features that help save energy and water.
The roof is filled with tubular skylights, mirrored inside, that direct sunlight into the building during the day, reducing the need for electric lighting — some rooms don’t even need any lights on.

Big, double-paned windows let still more light in while insulating the facility from heat.
Part of the parking lot is porous to allow rainwater to seep back into the water table, rather than running off into the ocean. And the building’s perimeter acts as an earthen sieve that filters most of the rest of the runoff into the ground.

Even the downspouts from the roof are filtered to remove trash or particles that might collect on the flat roof and wash onto the ground or into storm drains, Lopez said.
Much of the baking equipment sucks down a lot of energy, but the dishwashers are Energy Star appliances that conserve water and electricity.

With the new building, Disney has centralized most of its baking in the 10,000-square-foot facility. Park officials say Disneyland does 97 percent of its own baking, and the new facility handles 90 percent of that. Some specialty items for restaurants like The Napa Rose, for instance, will continue production in the localized bakeries in the park.

The bakeries had before been scattered throughout the resort’s hotels.
For the full article, click here.

Also from the OC Register's Around Disney blog:
Disney denies filming of $150,000 quinceanera by MTV
A La Palma woman says she’s angry with Disneyland for refusing to allow MTVtr3s cameras to tape in the Disneyland Hotel this June her daughter’s $150,000 quinceañera, a coming-of-age party celebrating a girl’s 15th birthday.

Disney officials say that the issue is clear-cut — the mother, Marilin Vargas, 46, signed a contract a year ago without mentioning any taping for broadcast.

Close to $60,000 of the $150,000 Vargas is spending on the party for her daughter, Chelsea Krueger, is on Disney catering and the banquet hall at the hotel.

MTVtr3s caters to a Latin-American audience and airs a show called “Quiero Mis Quince,” a cousin to the MTV show “My Super Sweet Sixteen.”

Both use the same premise — they chronicle wildly elaborate coming-of-age parties thrown by the families of teenage girls.

MTV declined comment for this story.

“Who is Disney to say, ‘No,’ because we’re paying them,” Kreuger said. “I really want Disney to see the stress they caused. All my life I wanted to have a big quince, and (MTVtr3s) has the big shows and all the drama, and I wanted that too."

[ . . . ] Disney officials said that Vargas signed a contract for the venue and food a year ago and mentioned nothing about taping. It was only about a month ago that Vargas approached the company to see about the taping.

“We are committed to ensuring a wonderful celebration for Chelsea and her family,” said Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown. “However, we retain the right to approve all filming for broadcast at Disneyland Resort, and we feel this type of show is not the right fit for Disney Parks.”

For the full story, click here.

Alright, that wraps up this week's update. Thanks as always for reading, be sure to discuss the update in the comments section below. Oh, and thanks again to "2DieFr" for the Pixie Hollow photos at the beginning of this week's column.

Remember, your contributions help keep the updates coming every week. 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. We've also hand-selected some noteworthy Disney titles for your bookshelf on Amazon, so treat yourself and buy yourself something nice by clicking on an item in one of the banners in today's update. Your purchase on Amazon helps Dateline Disneyland!

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See you here again next week!
- Andy

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Updated 05-11-2009 at 09:52 AM by Dateline Disneyland (Typo)



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  1. Coast21's Avatar
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    Great Update, I look forward to them every week
  2. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Wonderful update, photos, and news today Andy! Loved the video. Paradise Pier sure is going to be bright and colorful.
  3. WheresMickey's Avatar
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    Great update and pictures!
  4. sir clinksalot's Avatar
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    Great stuff as usual Andy. It looks like a couple arms of the Sun Wheel's lighting weren't working too well. Hopefully they will address that.
  5. Emmanuel_4's Avatar
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    MTV and Quinceanera?????/ Crazy People.
  6. toemblem's Avatar
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    “Who is Disney to say, ‘No,’ because we’re paying them,” Kreuger said. “I really want Disney to see the stress they caused. All my life I wanted to have a big quince, and (MTVtr3s) has the big shows and all the drama, and I wanted that too."
    Wow! That is all I am going to say about that.
  7. Todd R's Avatar
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    The Fun Wheel looks Fantastic.
  8. cositaluvsmickey's Avatar
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    Great as always...I always look forward to your reports it always puts a on my monday blues.
  9. seenoevil's Avatar
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    Are you able to see the Pixie Hollow pond without going into the queue? It sounds nice, but I don't really want to wait in the line.
  10. Athlonacon's Avatar
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    Fantastic job lighting the Fun Wheel! And it sounds like someone needs a SERIOUS attitude adjustment before they go pouting about how their quinceañera won't be shown on MTV. My gosh, $150,000 for a quinceañera... and then they whine about how it's destroyed by not being allowed to be taped.

    All I can say is GOOD WORK DISNEY! I know they didn't do it for the right reasons, but at least this person will learn something about *reality*. My goodness.
  11. kindagoofy's Avatar
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    Physics question: how'd they dump the gravel in the Cosmic Waves fountain area?
    A) It's Tomorrow Land. They used Instant Gravel. Just add water.
    B) They removed the hoarding, dumped it, and put the hoarding back.
    C) They utilized an enormous front-end-loader with a huge reach but a very small bucket (the pile's too pointy)
    D) Undisclosed Imagineering technology.

    Seriously, the pile's a mystery to me. Funny where the Disney magic lies, isn't it?
  12. kindagoofy's Avatar
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    $150k, $10k, or even $2.99, the cost of any party at Disneyland is irrelevant. People forget DL is private property and they have the right to monitor and control what's broadcast very closely. Honestly, I think Disney does a good job with this fairly delicate and complex issue.
  13. wdwnut4life's Avatar
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    great update. interesting how much stuff @ disneyland is down. glad i'm going to wdw july 16th & 18th! anyone who wants to meet sup with my gang & I r welcome! c y'all @ Epcot!!
  14. peoplemover1's Avatar
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    Great Job Andy! You made my Monday!!

  15. NathanScott86's Avatar
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    WOW. The fun wheel looks awesome.

    And my favorite part of the DCA refurb so far? I can't tell what they're doing with those World of Color setups. At all. It makes ZERO sense to me right now, and I love it. makes me all excited.
  16. Kritter's Avatar
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    Great pictures and upda... SQUIRREL!
  17. Uncle Bob's Avatar
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    Wow, Wing Chao is retiring. I want his job. Call me Disney.
  18. MonstersGoBoo!'s Avatar
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    Fantastic pictures! Thanks for the update.
  19. StrikeYerColors's Avatar
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    yay update! good one today. bummer about mr. lincoln though, and of course bummer about the astro orbitor still being fugly...
    Updated 05-11-2009 at 11:29 AM by StrikeYerColors (spelling)
  20. CastMember 02's Avatar
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    Thanks Andy, Great Update, amazing pics from MFW
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